October Business Bits

  • On the heels of record August numbers, Standard Pacific Corp. showed record increases in home sales in September as well. Preliminary new home orders totaled 645 for September - a 119 percent increase over August - with 260 of those in California. The company also showed new highs for third quarter home orders, with 1,731 orders nationwide (up 78 percent) and 736 orders in California.
  • The strength in the housing industry has also been reflected in the mortgage industry. Countrywide Credit Industries funded $25 billion in September, an increase of 19 percent from their August record, as their servicing portfolio topped $400 billion. "Countrywide is in the midst of a historic event in our mortgage banking business as loan application, pipeline and funding volumes reached all-time highs," said Stanford L. Kurland, chief operating officer. September average daily loan applications hit a record $2.1 billion, a 22 percent increase from the prior mark of $1.7 billion set in August. The mortgage loan pipeline reached a remarkable $51.3 billion, 22 percent higher than last month and 141 percent higher than last year."
  • U.S. Bank was ranked ninth among financial institutions that provide Internet banking in the Gomez Internet Banker Scorecard for the third quarter of this year. U.S. Bank moved up five places from its March 2002 ranking and 15 spots from the third quarter of 2001. "This achievement is symbolic of the tremendous effort and energy that has been poured into understanding the customers' needs and creating features that were based in large part on what our customers told us and how they behaved in user studies," said Linda Garner, senior vice president of eBusiness at U.S. Bank. "We measured our success by better user satisfaction, decreased time on each task, fewer issues in post-redesign usability testing, and minimal impact on the customer after the launch. Recent customer service surveys and third-party major surveys, including this jump in the Gomez ranking, indicate that we have accomplished our primary goal."
  • Valley Community Health Center has added two Hacienda executives to their board of directors, both with backgrounds in health care. Joining the board are William L. Bednarski, vice president of OEM and licensing technology for Nellcor's Oximetry & Critical Care division, and Wesley A. Tomaszek, vice president and group controller for Tyco Healthcare.
  • Pleasanton Partnerships In Education (PPIE) Foundation raised $60,000 at its 7th Annual CEO Dinner, a sum which will benefit local public schools through the organization's grant and service programs. Hacienda businesses which participated in the event include ProBusiness, Ponderosa Homes, Robert Half International, the Tri-Valley Herald, and Tanner Companies.

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