Money Talk: Jonesboro Stands Out In Memphis Burgundy Book

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 23 views 

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Last week, TB&P analyzed the Little Rock Burgundy Book, a compilation of quarterly statistical and anecdotal data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis specific to most of Arkansas. The Little Rock book examines all of the major metro areas in the state except Jonesboro, which is tied to the Memphis Burgundy Book.

Here are some outtakes from the Q3 Memphis report regarding Jonesboro, which is seeing better statistical numbers than other parts of the region in Tennessee and Mississippi.

  • In Jonesboro, non-farm employment growth continued to be faster than the national rate, led by strong growth in the goods-producing sector. A slowdown in the private service-providing sector was significant, contributing to the overall slowdown in employment growth.
  • Arkansas banks remain, on average, significantly more profitable than their Tennessee and Mississippi peers.
  • Average net interest margins (NIMs) still vary widely across Memphis zone states, with a 58-basis-point spread between the highest state average (Arkansas) and the lowest (Tennessee). The average NIM increased slightly in Arkansas and Tennessee and decreased slightly in Mississippi between the second and third quarters; average NIMs were higher in all three states from one year ago.
  • With the exception of corn in Arkansas and Mississippi, crop production levels surpassed last year’s exceptional harvest by a significant margin. The decline in corn production was primarily driven by about 37 percent fewer farmland acres allocated for corn in 2014 across both Arkansas and Mississippi. Cotton production for the zone states and the nation as a whole surged despite headwinds noted by regional farmers.

You can access the full Memphis Burgundy Book report at this link.

Don’t let it be said that Cong. Tom Cotton (Sen.-elect) and President Obama never agree. Obama signed into law on Dec. 18 a bill co-sponsored by Cotton called the American Savings Promotion Act.

The law allows banks to offer prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts, which means they can set up promotions to encourage savings deposits in exchange for a raffle to win a monthly on annual prize. Credit unions have had the ability to do this for decades, but a 1960’s law prohibited banks from doing it.

On his Congressional blog, Cotton said of the legislation:

  • The American Savings Promotion Act creates a narrow exemption for PLS products while maintaining the current ban on federally-insured financial institutions from operating lotteries.
  • This law simply removes the federal regulation—empowering states to decide to decide how they will regulate PLS products for themselves.

The effort, which is aimed at boosting savings, now allows states to pass legislation for this purpose. With Arkansas’ upcoming regular session, you can bet your bottom dollar some lawmaker will step up to the plate.

A wide range of economic data has been released by the federal government in the days prior to the holiday break, with some figures showing a gain in Arkansas’ combined personal income during the third quarter and a healthy increase in third quarter U.S. GDP.

Figures released Dec. 19 by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis show the estimate for Arkansas personal income at $112.5 billion, better than the $109.264 billion in the third quarter. It was also a gain over the $109.74 billion in the second quarter of 2014.

Several components of personal income in the third quarter had significant change compared to the second quarter. Net earnings were down $55 million, or 0.1%. Income from dividends, interest and rent was up $230 million, or around 1%. Transfer receipts, typically payments to individuals from government sources, were up $543 million, or 2.1%.

Read about how Arkansas compares to myriad national data at this link.

Three high-profile Arkansas CEOs were chosen for prestigious seats to positions with the St. Louis Fed last week.

John N. Roberts, III, president and CEO of Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, was appointed to a three-year term on the St. Louis Fed’s board of directors. Already serving on the St. Louis board are Sonja Yates Hubbard, CEO of E-Z Mart Stores Inc. in Texarkana and Cal McCastlain, partner at Dover Dixon Horne PLLC law firm in Little Rock.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis announced two reappointments to its Little Rock branch board of directors. Ray C. Dillon, president and CEO of Deltic Timber Corp. in El Dorado, Ark., has been reappointed to a three-year term and named chairman of the board of directors of the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

John T. Womack, chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank in Little Rock, Ark., has been reappointed to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.