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Banks: The third quarter analysis of state banks from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows continued improvement. The 271 Wisconsin-based banks included in the report had a combined profit of $424 million in the third quarter, the third straight overall quarterly profit and a dramatic increase over the $51 million profit reported in the second quarter FDIC report. Moreover, state banks reported a $215 million loss in the same quarter of 2010, and a loss of $456 million in the third quarter of 2009. Total bank assets were down from $152 billion at the same point last year to $97.4 billion this time around, but most of that drop was attributed to BMO Harris’ takeover of M&I Bank this summer, which took what was formerly the state’s largest bank out of the equation. The state’s new largest bank — Associated — reported a $49 million profit, the largest for the quarter. Johnson Bank of Racine led bank losses in the state at under $20 million, but just one of every eight state banks was unprofitable in the report.
Mining: Assembly Republicans disclose they’re planning to roll out legislation to overhaul the state’s procedures governing iron ore mining later this week. But GOP lawmakers acknowledge the bill isn’t done yet and they won’t get a vote on the measure this year as previously hoped. Instead, they plan to hold committee meetings on the bill in December with a vote on the bill coming in January. But there’s still the matter of the Senate, where Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn and the chair of the chamber’s special committee on mining, acknowledges he faces more hurdles than his Assembly counterparts. Kedzie says he hopes the Assembly bill, once unveiled, can serve as a starting point in his chamber, and that he, too, hopes to have a bill ready by January. But he says he’ll have to be more inclusive with such a slim Senate Republican majority. He also says that while most residents of the northwestern part of the state — home to a proposed iron mine site — are largely eager for the hundreds of projected new jobs, lawmakers must determine the appropriate length of a permit timeframe. He also says protecting the environment will be a key component of the bill, and that, “I don’t see how any of us can leave a legacy that we are not proud of when we are done with the process.”
Doctors: The Wisconsin Hospital Association issues a report showing that “aggressive action” is needed to prevent a crisis-level shortage of physicians in the state in the next 20 years. The report forecasts a shortage of some 2,100 physicians by 2030, attributing the problem to the state’s aging population and an increase in access to health care following the implementation of federal health care reform. In particular, the report says health care reform nationally will make recruiting doctors into the state more difficult due to nationwide demand. Recruiting is essential, the report says, because the state gets only about one-sixth of its needed annual quota of new doctors from the state’s two medical schools. While analysts are uncertain about the potential impact of a third medical school on that shortage, Aspirus Wausau Hospital and the Wisconsin College of Osteopathic Medicine say they want to study the establishment of a new medical school in Wausau. The school — projected to cost more than $70 million — would enroll 400 to 600 medical students and employ more than 100 faculty and staff.