New England business news for the week of Sept. 21, 2008
Frank seeks middle ground for GOP
Rep. Barney Frank found himself in the center of the country's financial storm as he tried to fashion an industry bailout plan that would be acceptable to Congress.
By the end of the week, the Newton Democrat, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, found himself in the unusual position of acting as a referee between two warring GOP factions: The Bush administration and House Republicans.
WaMu collapse to have slight impact on Mass.
The financial industry's game of musical chairs continued with the FDIC seizure of Washington Mutual and the subsequent handover of its banking assets at a fire-sale price to JPMorgan Chase.
Bankers had been watching the Seattle-based thrift for months, wondering if it might collapse following its overly aggressive expansion in the subprime loan business. The direct impact in Massachusetts will be minimal, as WaMu had no retail bank branches here and had significantly shrunk its lending operations in this state during the past two years.
SJC revives worker suit against Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores found itself on the losing end of a Supreme Judicial Court decision that revived a class action lawsuit that claims the chain systematically forced its workers in Massachusetts to miss meal breaks and to work without proper compensation.
The state's highest court overturned a Superior Court judge's decision to end the class action status of the case.
With the SJC's decision, the case could go to a jury trial within the next nine months.
Cape, Islands see home prices in steep decline
The real estate downturn is finally hitting homes in vacation areas harder than the rest of the state.
The latest sales figures for August showed that the median price for single-family homes fell 9 percent statewide from the same time a year ago.
But home prices on Cape Cod and the Islands saw much larger declines, with the median price on the Cape dropping by nearly 19 percent and on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket by more than 30 percent from August 2007.
The Patriot Ledger