Everett bank adds $4.1 million to its loan pool

Everett-based Mountain Pacific Bank has raised an additional $4.1 million during the last three months that will be used to increase business and individual loans. CEO Mark Duffy said in a prepared statement that the bank has raised $10.5 million in new local capital during the past two years, enough to support $50 million in new loans. “We’re excited to be in position to grow and support the economic recovery in our local community,” Duffy said. He said the bank now is one of the best capitalized in Washington state. Pacific Bank was established in 2006.

AT&T drops plans to buy T-Mobile USA

AT&T Inc. will hang up the phone on its embattled bid to take over T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. The company is calling off the deal, which has hit a series of increasingly serious state and federal roadblocks, and said it would take a $4 billion pre-tax charge as part of its breakup fee to T-Mobile. In a news release about the end of the deal, AT&T cited the opposition of the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, which had opposed the deal on the grounds that it would create a less competitive wireless industry and potentially lead to higher prices for consumers.

More buyer interest raises builder hopes

Rising interest from would-be buyers is leaving U.S. homebuilders less pessimistic about the housing market. But tighter lending standards are still keeping many potential buyers from purchasing new homes. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose two points to 21 in December. That’s the highest level since May 2010. It’s just the second time the index has been at 20 or above in two years. Still, any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the housing market. The index hasn’t reached 50 since April 2006, the boom’s peak.

U.S. mills complain about Canadian prices

When it comes to getting lumber off lots, bad grades are a good thing and U.S. mills say their Canadian counterparts are flunking on purpose. The conflict is particularly pronounced at an Oregon mill, where owner Steve Swanson says underpriced Canadian wood is forcing him to lay off employees, the Roseburg News-Review reported. The lumber is priced by grade. Mills in British Columbia claim a pine beetle infestation is affecting their harvest, forcing them to drop the price on lumber. While the overwhelming majority of timber in Canada is grown on public lands, U.S. mills rely mostly on private timberlands. For Swanson, that means paying $50 for a 40-foot-tall, 12-inch-diameter tree that costs a Canadian mill 25 cents, the newspaper reported. Buying the logs accounts for most of the cost of producing lumber, he said. “I can compete with any lumber company in the world, but I can’t compete with the government of Canada,” he said.

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