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Business/Economy

  • Obama: 'No excuse' for health care signup problems

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday said there was "no excuse" for the cascade of computer problems that have marred the rollout of a key element in his health care law, but declared he was confident the administration would be able to fix the issues.

    "There's no sugarcoating it," Obama said. "Nobody is more frustrated than I am."

    The president said his administration was doing "everything we can possibly do" to get the federally run websites where people are supposed to apply for insurance up and running. That includes bringing in additional technology experts from inside and outside the government to work on the issues.

    People have until March 31 to sign up for coverage. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had projected that about 7 million people would gain coverage through the exchanges during the first year.

    The president on Monday guaranteed that everyone who wants to get insurance through the new health care exchanges will be able to, even if they have to enroll over the phone or fill out a paper application.

  • Study: 15 percent of US youth out of school, work

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working, according to a study released Monday.

    That's almost 15 percent of those aged 16 to 24 who have neither desk nor job, according to The Opportunity Nation coalition, which wrote the report.

    Other studies have shown that idle young adults are missing out on a window to build skills they will need later in life or use the knowledge they acquired in college. Without those experiences, they are less likely to command higher salaries and more likely to be an economic drain on their communities.

    "This is not a group that we can write off. They just need a chance," said Mark Edwards, executive director of the coalition of businesses, advocacy groups, policy experts and nonprofit organizations dedicated to increasing economic mobility. "The tendency is to see them as lost souls and see them as unsavable. They are not."

    But changing the dynamic is not going to be easy.

    The coalition also finds that 49 states have seen an increase in the number of families living in poverty and 45 states have seen household median incomes fall in the last year. The dour report underscores the challenges young adults face now and foretell challenges they are likely to face as they get older.

  • LANB hires new commercial loan VP

    Los Alamos National Bank recently hired Michael Padilla, a 25-year banking industry professional, as vice president of commercial loans.
    “I am proud to join LANB in supporting local businesses and strengthening the local economy. We offer commercial loans and are eager to visit with our customers about new opportunities to realize their business goals,” Padilla said.
    Padilla, a native of Northern New Mexico, graduated from the University of New Mexico. He is active in the North Central New Mexico Economic Development District, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the New Mexico Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Council, Special Olympics, United Way and the UNM Lobo Club.
    “With the experience Michael brings to LANB, we are confident that he will be a great asset to our bank and our customers,” said Steve Wells, president of LANB. 

  • WR retailer chooses different direction

    Months ago, the town of White Rock was abuzz about a new furniture store opening directly across from the Bilingual Montessori School in the old village shopping center. The once frosted glass and dusty storefront suddenly began to glow with activity. It seemed that the lonely strip of empty retail spaces might finally get its second wind.

    Furniture is now beautifully displayed inside the spacious retail location, enticing passers-by to stop and take a second look; however, it seems now that the store will never open with regular hours. Owner Perry Handy shares that getting a business off the ground in Los Alamos is extremely difficult, especially in White Rock; and he is convinced that the area will never successfully support his furniture business, or any other retail business.

    The Handys are long-time residents of Los Alamos. They own the village center shops, which they purchased six years ago, when the buildings went into foreclosure. The family’s business offices for Hot Hole Instruments were already located in the village, and it was easier for them to purchase the property than to relocate.

  • House GOP unveils bill to counter Senate debt plan

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House GOP leaders unveiled their own plan Tuesday to counter an emerging Senate deal to reopen the government and forestall an economy-rattling default on U.S. obligations.

    Top Republicans unveiled a plan that would suspend a new tax on medical devices for two years and take away the federal government's contributions to lawmakers' health care and top administration officials in addition to funding the government through Jan. 15 and giving Treasury the ability to borrow normally through Feb. 7.

    The move came as a partial shutdown entered its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a this cash cushion to pay the country's bills.

    Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Republicans plan to pass the measure later Tuesday. It could prove tricky because Democrats probably won't support it. The House GOP plan wouldn't win nearly as many concessions from President Barack Obama as Republicans had sought but it would set up another battle with the White House early next year.

    "The jury is still out," said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas.

  • Social Security raise to be among lowest in years

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For the second straight year, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect historically small increases in their benefits come January.

    Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5 percent, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

    Next year's raise will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven't gone up much in the past year.

    The exact size of the cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, won't be known until the Labor Department releases the inflation report for September. That was supposed to happen Wednesday, but the report was delayed indefinitely because of the partial government shutdown.

    The COLA is usually announced in October to give Social Security and other benefit programs time to adjust January payments. The Social Security Administration has given no indication that raises would be delayed because of the shutdown, but advocates for seniors said the uncertainty was unwelcome.

    Social Security benefits have continued during the shutdown.

    More than one-fifth of the country is waiting for the news.

  • LANB hires new chief credit officer

    Los Alamos National Bank announced the hiring of Thomas (Tom) M. Lilly as chief credit officer this week.
    Lilly brings more than 25 years of community banking financial management experience overseeing credit administration, underwriting, loan operations and collections for several Mid-Western regional banks.
    “Tom is a great addition to LANB,” said Steve Wells, president, “he brings valued expertise to the credit quality function of the organization and will make us a better bank”.
    Lilly will oversee all credit administration of LANB and will lead the lending and credit operations in assuring strong asset quality and effective credit risk management.
    Upon accepting the position, Lilly said, “I’m excited to work for a community bank with the stature of LANB. I want to ensure that LANB continues to be an active and effective lender in the communities it serves.”
     Lilly has served on a number of non-profit boards in Milwaukee, Wisconsin including the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. He is particularly interested in serving the needs of children in the community.

  • Banks to help furloughed workers

    Some local banks and credit unions are offering help to those who have been or will be furloughed.
    Los Alamos National Bank is rolling out a program to provide relief for furloughed Federal Employees called “LANB S.T.R.O.N.G.”.
    “Our community and customers have always counted on LANB to be there for them. The unfortunate situation many may find themselves in due to government furloughs is a time when LANB can again help,” said bank President Steve Wells.
    LANB S.T.R.O.N.G. stands for “Short Term Relief Options (while) No Government.” It contains four main relief options for furloughed federal employees:
    • Payment Deferrals on Consumer Loans and Credit Cards (1 month)
    • Home Mortgage Loan Payment Forbearance (up to 6 months)
    • Waived Overdraft Fees
    • Short Term Relief Loans (new customers as well)
    They are up to $5,000, 24-month-term, five percent fixed rate, no fees, with approved credit and must be repain with a monthly payments of $219.36.
    Furloughed federal employees need only to contact LANB and the Bank will quickly assist with their request. Direct any questions or requests to: Toll Free: 800-684-5262, Los Alamos and Santa Fe 505-662-5171, Albuquerque: 505-449-5100

    Zia Credit Union

  • Christmas at Neiman Marcus: $1.9M Diamond Deal
  • 965 federal employees submit unemployment claims in NM

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials say nearly 1,000 federal employees submitted unemployment claims in New Mexico.

    Federal employees who are laid off — including those furloughed during the temporary shutdown of the federal government — can file for unemployment benefits through the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.

    Department officials said Monday that there have been 965 total initial claims for federal employees filed on or after Oct. 1.

    They say federal employee claims are about 36 percent of all new claims, which total 2,700.