At least one Southeastern bank analyst is bullish on SCBT Financial Corp., the Columbia, SC-based bank company that’s weathered the current economic downturn reasonably well.
Chris Marinac, managing principal and director of research at Atlanta-based FIG Partners, speaks highly of SCBT, the parent of South Carolina Bank & Trust, in the most recent edition of The Wall Street Transcript’s Banking/Southern Region Report.
Marinac has confidence in companies like SCBT that have ”a fair amount of capital and are well positioned to win in their markets …. because there is big market share loosening up from the standpoint of other, bigger banks.”
“We think that (SCBT) is very well positioned to do quite well from the new Wells Fargo acting in South Carolina, which I am not sure will be that well received, let alone changes that are undoubtedly still to come in their markets from the South Financial Group and others,” he told The Wall Street Transcript. “Even seeing BB&T and SunTrust pull back to a certain extent in South Carolina bodes well for SCBT.”
SCBT made news last month when it became the first South Carolina bank company to repay bailout funds borrowed from the federal government. SCBT repaid a $64.8 million loan by completing the repurchase of 64,779 shares of preferred stock from the US Treasury Department.
While SCBT’s earning fell to $3.7 million during the first three months of 2009 from $6 million a year earlier, it remains one of the better performing South Carolina financial services companies.
SCBT has shown more stability than many larger publicly traded regional bank companies, such as South Financial Group, Bank of America and Synovus Financial. SCBT shares are currently trading for around $24, down not quite 50 percent from a 52-week high of $45.24.
The South Carolina Policy Council’s recently unveiled blog has a post on the Certified SC Grown program, the Chernoff Newman-created ad campaign which is nothing more than a thinly disguised subsidy program for Palmetto State agriculture producers.
The program is troubling because, as others have written, “government shouldn’t be in the business of spending taxpayer money to market fruits and vegetables – homegrown or otherwise.”
Below is the post:
“As the latest phase of its Certified SC Grown campaign, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has unveiled the ‘Palmettovore.’ According to a recent op-ed in The Greenville News by SC Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers, A Palmettovore is ‘a person who attempts to eat only farm products grown and processed in South Carolina.’
“Weathers says the logic of the Palmettovore push is simple: SC-grown produce and products are local, which he says makes them fresher and therefore healthier; buying SC products helps our economy; and it’s good for the environment, as locally produced goods don’t have to travel as far as foods from across the country.
“Unfortunately, all the Certified SC Grown program is doing is using scarce tax dollars to pimp the SC agriculture industry, to the detriment of the state as a whole.
“Consider this: let’s say that to promote South Carolina peanuts, Palmetto State consumers reject good deals on peanuts from Georgia. South Carolina consumers not only directly make themselves poorer, but they also have less money to spend elsewhere, such as at the local car-repair shop and at local restaurants.
‘In addition, to the extent that the misguided ethic of ‘buying local’ takes hold, local firms have weaker incentives to improve efficiencies and product offerings. The state’s economy suffers, both today and especially tomorrow.
“The other arguments behind the Certified SC Grown program are equally faulty:
- Given the amount of regulation inherent in today’s food industry, it’s not clear how much healthier S.C. produce is from that grown elsewhere.
- And, by the above logic, shouldn’t Columbia residents reject peaches grown in Gaffney for those from Augusta, Ga., and Conway consumers turn aside shrimp raised in Hilton Head for that from Wilmington, N.C., since Augusta is closer to Columbia and Conway is nearer to Wilmington, making it easier on the environment?
“Beyond the economic inefficiencies created by programs such as Certified SC Grown, is it really the purpose of government to spend tax dollars to promote a specific industry?
“If SC growers get financial assistance to help them sell their goods, one could reasonably argue that SC steel manufacturers or SC paper makers should get the same benefit.
‘There may be advantages to buying locally produced food, such as giving one a sense of loyalty by supporting home-grown goods. But it’s foolish to dress up what is, in essence, a subsidy for the state’s agriculture industry as a benefit for all of South Carolina.’
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, legislation now before the US House of Representatives makes the case that economic recovery, job creation and addressing global warming can all be wrapped up in a tidy little package, shown above in the cute little infographic titled “How Capping Carbon Creates Jobs.”
Rather than rant and rave about the inanity of such harebrained schemes - which can only be accomplished through government fiat -we’ll let Thomas E. Woods over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s blog take care of the heavy lifting:
“I won’t ask if they think Americans are this stupid, since they obviously do. Leaving aside the question of whether carbon needs to be capped, since that has nothing to do with whether doing so ‘creates jobs’ on net, is there a non-drone, non-bought-and-paid-for human being on this earth who thinks throwing obstacles in the path of production ‘creates jobs’ in a non-trivial sense? Couldn’t I, with equal justification, say that forcing every business to destroy its roof and then build a new one out of clay, or chopping off every third worker’s right hand, would create an analogous series of jobs?”
To which reader jc butte adds a proposal of his own that combines recreation and job creation.
“I propose building full scale titanic replicas and sending them off with a few thousand passengers to rub up against icebergs on nice calm evenings. We’ll just equip them with more lifeboats. Think of all the fun people can have with the experience. We can create an assembly line of titanics so there is always a ready replacement.
“Lots of jobs, lots of steel, glass, furniture and stuff … it could turn the economy around!”
Why not? It makes about as much as sense as capping carbon to create jobs.