published Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Business Briefcase: Chattanooga official touts riverfront to Corpus Christi

Chattanooga, Oklahoma City and Houston were the turnaround success stories touted last week to leaders of Corpus Christi, Texas, which is trying to revitalize its bayfront.

Officials with Texas' fifth most visited city listened last Monday to leaders of Chattanooga and two other cities tell the story of their revivals. Corpus Christi is planning a $72.5 million upgrade of its downtown waterfront, in part, patterned after Chattanooga's 21st Century Waterfront plan completed in 2005.

Destination Bayfront, a group of local business leaders leading the bayfront redevelopment effort in Corpus Christi, invited representatives from the three cities, each of which worked with Hargreaves Associates to lead redevelopment plans.

Ken Hays, a former president of RiverCity Co., who is a partner in Kinsey, Hays Probasco in Chattanooga, said Chattanooga revitalized itself from one of the dirtiest to one of the most transformed cities in America.

Hays' advice to Corpus Christi: "Go for it. Get it done."

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    U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.
    Photo by Patrick Smith.
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Corker wants more Ex-Im Bank standards for capital

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., introduced legislation last week to require minimum capital standards for the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Corker also said he wants the bank to certify that private financing is unavailable or too expensive before the Ex-Im Bank makes loans or grants to developing countries.

The Ex-Im Bank, similar to competing entities in other countries, makes affordable loans available to companies that export American products overseas but are unable to obtain financing from other sources.

"The 2008 financial crisis taught us the hard way how critical it is for banks to have enough capital to protect against losses," Corker said in a statement. "Our amendment would finally apply the same principal to the Export-Import Bank by establishing a 10 percent minimum capital standard and certification that the private sector is unable to finance a similar loan."

Corker said the additional capital will help ensure that if loans go bad, taxpayers are protected against those losses and the Ex-Im Bank is less likely to be bailed out by Congress.

"If we're going to reauthorize this institution to help sell American products overseas and keep our competitive edge in the world marketplace, we need to create an added buffer against taxpayer losses," Corker said.

The Ex-Im Bank's existing charter requires $1 billion in capital, but as lending limits have increased, the capital requirement has not. If the reauthorization were to proceed as written, with no limitations on leverage, the bank could be leveraged as highly as 140-to-1.

VW of America appoints Mayer as VP of marketing

Volkswagen of America has appointed Kevin E. Mayer, 42, to the post of vice president marketing for the VW brand.

Mayer will lead and direct all aspects of marketing for the Volkswagen brand in the United States, according to VW. He will report directly to Tim Mahoney, Volkswagen of America executive vice president and chief product and marketing officer.

Mayer comes to the VW brand from General Motors Corp. in Detroit where he served as director of advertising and sales promotion for the Chevrolet division.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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