Bidding South Financial adieu

After nearly a quarter century, the company that began as a Carolina First Corp., morphed into The South Financial Group and became the Palmetto State’s largest independent bank company is no more.

Friday morning TD Bank Financial Group announced completion of its acquisition of South Financial, ending the latter’s run as South Carolina’s biggest state-based bank.

Earlier this week South Financial shareholders approved the company’s merger with TD, parent of Toronto-Dominion Bank.

In May, Greenville-based South Financial, the parent of Carolina First Bank, announced it would be acquired by TD for 28 cents a share. Over the past five-plus years, South Financial saw its stock lose 99 percent of its value.

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World War I to end – officially – on Sunday

More than nine decades after the conflict’s final shots were fired, World War I will officially end Sunday when Germany pays the last of the war reparations imposed at Versailles by the Allies in 1919.

A final payment of $94 million will pay off the debt that grew out of World War I. The initial sum agreed upon for war damages a year after the end of the 1914-18 war was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion Reichsmarks, equivalent at the time to about $38 billion.

Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France, and to pay some of the Allies’ costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving 10 million soldiers dead.

France, nearly bled white by fighting on the Western Front during the Great War, pushed hardest for the steepest possible fiscal punishment for Germany.

Payments stopped when Adolf Hitler reneged on reparations in the 1930s.

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