Eight Hotels Join AAA's Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2018

Eight Hotels Join AAA's Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2018 Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AAA has unveiled 121 hotels that earned the AAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for this year’s Five Diamond Award list. Honorees run the gamut from regal historic inns to sleek high-tech high-rises and sprawling coastal resorts. Eight hotels have been added as Five Diamond honorees throughout the past year.

“Attaining a Five Diamond Rating is an exceptional accomplishment that signifies meticulous attention to detail, creativity in enhancing comfort, outstanding service and memorable guest experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “And as more mid-scale and even budget properties are adding amenities for comfort and convenience, hotels that aim for a Five Diamond Rating must stay far ahead of the curve to differentiate themselves through advanced design concepts, highest quality furnishings and scrupulous attention to guests’ expectations.”

The hotels receiving a Five Diamond Rating undergo a number of checks and balances including in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and, finally, review by a panel of experts to ensure credibility. Fewer than half of 1 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels receive the Five Diamond Rating.

AAA first began inspecting hotels and restaurants in 1937, the same year Virginia’s Williamsburg Inn opened its doors. More than 80 years later, the elegant Regency-style property has attained the exclusive AAA Five Diamond Rating, indicating it has reached the pinnacle of luxury, sophistication and guest comfort. Of additional note about the eight honorees added to the list this year:

  • Esperanza An Auberge Resort Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Guests can enjoy the water many ways at this intimate seaside resort: They can soak in hot tubs in terraces overlooking the ocean, swim in one of several pools or lounge on a private beach.
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown New York, N.Y. High-tech meets classic comforts with features including an indoor 75-foot lap pool bathed in natural light and surrounded by comfortable chaise lounges.
  • Grand Luxxe Riviera Maya – Playa del Carmen, Mexico. A multi-tiered pool and a theater built for world-class Cirque du Soleil shows are among the unique offerings at this resort.
  • Grand Velas Los Cabos San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. This new resort offers oversize, elegant suites with dramatic ocean views. All guest units include terraces, some of which have plunge pools.
  • Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands. This stylish oceanfront resort, named after the jaw-dropping bursts of color guests can view at sunset, includes fully furnished balconies with sofa seating and an 8,500-square-foot spa with a Turkish hammam.
  • The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. Close-up views of the Empire State Building are among the stunning hallmarks of this property, where rooms have fine wood finishes, high-tech accessories and marble bathrooms.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas Dallas, Texas. Museum-quality artwork, a luxurious club-level lounge and a nationally acclaimed restaurant set this hotel apart.
  • Williamsburg Inn Williamsburg, Va. Just a few minutes’ walk from the historic area, this opulent inn takes guests back in time, with richly canopied beds, silk drapes and bedding, antiques and fine artwork.

The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, Grand Velas Los Cabos and the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa attained the AAA Five Diamond Rating shortly after they opened.  

Others like the Williamsburg Inn, with its upgraded outdoor spaces and redesigned signature-themed suites; Esperanza An Auberge Resort; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; and The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, underwent renovations in recent years. Then, after attaining top marks for physical attributes, they demonstrated the significant service enhancements required to receive that fifth Diamond. There’s a level of extra-attentive service that must be provided – some sort of wow factor – to edge a lodging into the Five Diamond category.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 6.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,676 Four Diamond hotels.

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, then went to a formal rating system in 1963 that in 1976 evolved into the Diamond Rating system for lodgings. (The Diamond Ratings for restaurants started in 1985.) The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

To see the complete lists of 2018 AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotels, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotel Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

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SOURCE AAA

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http://www.aaa.com/

Rosenthal Acquires Domestic Factoring Portfolio From BB&T (NYSE: BBT)

Rosenthal Acquires Domestic Factoring Portfolio From BB&T (NYSE: BBT) Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc., the leading independent factoring, asset based lending and purchase order financing firm in the United States, today announced the completion of a deal to acquire the domestic factoring portfolio of BB&T Corporation (NYSE: BBT), one of the largest financial services holding companies in the United States.

As part of the deal, Rosenthal will acquire BB&T’s portfolio of 90 factoring clients, adding approximately $2 billion in volume to its already robust $9 billion in factored volume. Rosenthal will add a front office in Georgia and back office support in North Carolina to manage the new portfolio. These two new locations complement Rosenthal’s already existing California office and New York headquarters. Twenty-five BB&T factoring professionals will join the nearly 200 Rosenthal staff currently serving the firm’s clients nationwide.

The deal marks the first acquisition in Rosenthal’s 80-year history and positions the firm to further diversify the regions and industries it currently serves. This significant expansion allows Rosenthal to continue to develop new business opportunities within the furniture, casual living, fabrics and textiles industries, alongside the fashion, apparel, accessories, manufacturing, food & beverage and gift & home sectors, where Rosenthal has had historically strong relationships.

“We are excited to acquire BB&T’s portfolio of factoring clients and honored to welcome their talented team of professionals into the Rosenthal family,” said Peter Rosenthal, President of Rosenthal & Rosenthal. “This acquisition is a logical step forward for our firm, significantly advancing our goal of establishing Rosenthal as the leading independent national finance company.”

“We are pleased to be a part of this transaction with Rosenthal & Rosenthal,” said BB&T Specialized Finance and Operations Manager Robert Fentress. “Both our clients and associates will benefit from an association with one of the most respected firms in the factoring and asset based lending business.”

ABOUT ROSENTHAL & ROSENTHAL

Rosenthal & Rosenthal (www.rosenthalinc.com) is the leading independent factoring, asset based lending and purchase order financing firm in the United States. Founded in 1938 by Imre J. Rosenthal, the firm is now led by the second and third generations of the Rosenthal family. As a privately held company, Rosenthal is committed to providing personalized service and flexible lending to clients across a broad range of industries. Rosenthal has offices in New York, California, Georgia and North Carolina.

BB&T

BB&T is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $221.6 billion in assets and market capitalization of $38.9 billion as of December 31, 2017. Building on a long tradition of excellence in community banking, BB&T offers a wide range of financial services including retail and commercial banking, investments, insurance, wealth management, asset management, mortgage, corporate banking, capital markets and specialized lending. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T operates over 2,000 financial centers in 15 states and Washington, D.C. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client service by Greenwich Associates for small business and middle market banking. More information about BB&T and its full line of products and services is available at BBT.com.

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SOURCE Rosenthal & Rosenthal, Inc.

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http://www.rosenthalinc.com

Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS) Holds Roundtable on Olympic Legacy by Multi-stakeholders

Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS) Holds Roundtable on Olympic Legacy by Multi-stakeholders Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

– Traditional Strengths, Problem-solving Critical to Building Legacy; Fostering Talent among People with Diverse Viewpoints Key to Legacy –

TSUKUBA, Japan, Jan. 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS), a part of the “Sport for Tomorrow” programme by which the Japanese government is promoting the sports and Olympic/Paralympic movement, hosted a roundtable presentation in Tokyo on Monday, 22 January, to spread awareness and understanding of the Olympic legacy as an aspect of Japan’s societal heritage. Key members of industry and Olympic-related organisations took the dais to engage in discussions before an audience of industry and media representatives.

(Photo1: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/img/201801290379-O1-Devwz011)

With the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 coming soon, attention is now focused on the question of what kind of ongoing and positive Olympic legacy the Games will leave behind for the host city as well as for related organisations, society and people in general.

In addition to University of Tsukuba Professor and TIAS Chairman Hisashi Sanada, the roundtable attended by members of the press and industry stakeholders included Takanori Ishikawa, Senior Director of Action and Legacy for the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a key player in the effort to foster a lasting Tokyo Olympic legacy. Other participants representing industry actively engaged in the Olympic legacy effort included Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games General Manager for Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. Oliver Takahashi, and Naoki Matsushita, Senior General Manager of Global Sports Marketing Division at ASICS Corp. The roundtable participants engaged in discussions sharing each perspective and deepened understanding of the crucial importance of generating an Olympic legacy.

In his presentation, Prof. Hisashi Sanada (University of Tsukuba/TIAS) noted the example of automaker Subaru “Legacy, the great heritage” as he reiterated the basic question of what constitutes a legacy and explained how the IOC conceives of the origin and definition of a legacy. “Amid developments such as the withdrawal of bids by European cities, the IOC has come to acknowledge a crisis in sustaining the Olympics in Europe. It has become necessary to hold the Olympic Games in ways that generate value to make them worth the cost,” he said, explaining how leaving a legacy came to be seen as so crucial. He added that in the Tokyo 2020 Games, as in the past Games held in Japan in 1964 and also the Games originally scheduled to be held in 1940, the vision has always been recovery. In the field of education, he said, the “One School for One Country” movement typifies the Olympic-related projects unique to Japan, which are crucial because through them “we can build a legacy founded on our strengths of tradition and problem-solving.”

(Photo2: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/img/201801290379-O2-u14uJm4W)

Noting “making the Tokyo 2020 Games available for participation by everyone possible throughout Japan,” Takanori Ishikawa (the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) spoke on the stated vision for the Games: “Sports has the power to change the world and the feature,” and gave an account of the programmes currently under way. He expressed the critical importance of spreading awareness and meaning of the 2020 Olympics and of sports tournaments in general through programmes that people nationwide can participate in. Given that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are expected to have record-high numbers of athletes and spectators participating, the Games will leave behind more than just the physical legacy of new national sports arenas. They are also the focus of efforts to create the intangible legacy of contributing to a more vibrant society that can accommodate more than 90,000 expected volunteers and numerous foreign visitors while also assisting disabled people in actively thriving throughout society.

(Photo3: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/img/201801290379-O3-T3193fr4)

Emphasising “a legacy is something that reminds us decades later that what we did was meaningful,” Oliver Takahashi (Coca-Cola (Japan) Co.) introduced his vision, and the process by which a legacy can be built up through continual evolution across every competitive event. He noted how important it will be to have workshops conducted not just by management, but by staff on the scene. “In close proximity to customers and accessible to their views, we will carry out projects that are easy for everyone to understand and will encourage them to join in,” he said. “We hope that this will enable us to build a ‘Japan 2020′ legacy that will envelop the whole country.”

(Photo4: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/img/201801290379-O4-Z1H9qv0r)

Expressing “training talent is a major element in creating a legacy,” Naoki Matsushita (ASICS Corp.) also spoke from the perspective of industry. He said that the Olympics will provide the occasion for companies to create their own legacy through internal personnel training, as well as employment of people from organisations such as TIAS and elsewhere worldwide. With respect to Asia in particular, he said, “Since we will have increased opportunities to use Japanese content for PR purposes, there will be a need to actively employ people with international connections who can make use of them in Asia.” He said that the development and supply of products to actually be used directly in the competitions means “posting specific Olympic schedules within the company, which helps elevate our employee motivation.” In this way, he introduced the unique ways in which manufacturing firms experience the run-up to the Olympics.

(Photo5: http://prw.kyodonews.jp/img/201801290379-O5-Q2098vkc)

Prof. Sanada concluded by speaking from the perspective of TIAS in its role as personnel of an educational institution. “I believe that we can generate a problem-solving legacy through our traditional strengths and it will therefore be necessary to foster talented people who share this perspective,” he said. “Leveraging the traditional strengths that each country, city, company and university bring to the table as we consider what issues confront us will, I think, give rise to diverse legacies.” In this way, he expressed the future orientation of TIAS in Japan beyond 2020.

About TIAS

As part of the Sport for Tomorrow programme put forward by Japan’s central government to further the sport and Olympic/Paralympic movement, TIAS has full government support. The University of Tsukuba, the parent organisation of TIAS, has been the driving force behind the Olympic movement in Japan, which dates back more than a century to Jigoro Kano, the first Asian member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and chairman of the school that was the forerunner of the University of Tsukuba. In anticipation of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, TIAS is offering wide-ranging studies, encompassing Olympic and Paralympic education including the state of the art in sport management, teaching and coaching, as well as interaction with select scholars from around the world. For details, please visit us at: http://tias.tsukuba.ac.jp/.

Admission Guidelines for 2018 Master’s Programme in Sport and Olympic Studies
Master’s Programme in Health and Sport Sciences
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences

  • Enrolment: 1 October 2018
  • Programme Term: Oct. 2018Mar. 2020 (18 months)

    The TIAS master’s programme is to be completed within 18 months instead of 2 years – through the recruitment of top students from across the world.

  • Expenses: International students are exempt from paying examination fees, admission fees and tuition.
  • Eligibility for Application: Applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

    1. Individuals who have graduated or who will finish a four-year programme at a Japanese university by September 2018.

    2. Individuals whose education spans 16 years or more and includes a bachelor’s degree from outside of Japan, or individuals who will obtain their bachelor’s degree by September 2018.

    3. Individuals who have received or will receive a bachelor’s degree in Japan by September 2018.

    4. Individuals who are 22 years of age or older by September 2018, and whose qualification is recognized as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree through eligibility screening conducted by the University of Tsukuba. 

  • Schedule (JST):
    • Web entry: 24 January 2018, 12:00 – 23 February 2018, 15:00
    • Deadline for document submission: 12 March 2018, 17:00
    • Announcement of results of document screening: 23 March 2018, 15:00 on website
    • Oral examination (Skype interview): 3 April 20185 April 2018
    • Announcement of final results: 10 May 2018, 15:00 on website

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SOURCE Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies (TIAS), University of Tsukuba

Related Links

http://tias.tsukuba.ac.jp

Meridian Bank Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results

Meridian Bank Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

MALVERN, Pa., Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Meridian Bank (Nasdaq: MRBK) (“Meridian”) today reported a net loss of $11 thousand available to common shareholders for the quarter ending December 31, 2017, compared with net income of $370 thousand for the same quarter last year. For the year ending December 31, 2017, net income available to common shareholders was $1.9 million, or $.49 per share, compared with $3.8 million, or $1.12 per share, for the same period, last year. Fourth quarter and full year 2017 results were impacted by a $746 thousand charge to income tax expense, or $0.16 per diluted share, to re-measure deferred tax assets due to the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Condensed Statements of Income (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

Years Ended 

(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)

December 31,
2017

December 31,
2016

December 31,
2017

December 31,
2016

Interest income

$9,807

$8,118

$35,718

$30,980

Interest expense

1,974

1,346

6,781

5,192

Net interest income

7,833

6,772

28,937

25,788

Provision for credit losses

716

340

2,161

1,198

Non-interest income

9,177

10,866

36,091

42,844

Non-interest expense

14,633

16,342

57,081

59,913

Income before income tax expense

1,661

956

5,786

7,521

Income tax expense

1,372

297

2,753

2,599

Net Income

$289

$659

$3,033

$4,922

Preferred stock dividends and accretion

300

289

1,168

1,156

Net income available to common shareholders

($11)

$370

$1,865

$3,766

Weighted average common shares outstanding

4,575

3,685

3,743

3,362

Net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.10

$0.49

$1.12

Fully diluted common shares outstanding

4,575

3,694

3,770

3,389

Fully diluted net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.10

$0.49

$1.11

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Meridian believes that non-GAAP measures are meaningful because they reflect adjustments commonly made by management, investors, regulators and analysts to evaluate the adequacy of common equity and performance trends. This non-GAAP disclosure has limitations as an analytical tool, should not be viewed as a substitute for performance and financial condition measures determined in accordance with GAAP, and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for analysis of Meridian’s results as reported under GAAP, nor is it necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures that may be presented by other companies.

Meridian believes adjusted net income, earnings per share, ROAA and ROAE provide a greater understanding of ongoing operations and enhances comparability of results with prior periods. Because management believes that these adjustments are not incurred as a result of ongoing operations, they are not as helpful a measure of the performance of our underlying business, particularly in light of their unpredictable nature and are difficult to Page 1 forecast. This supplemental presentation should not be construed as an inference that Meridian’s future results will be unaffected by similar adjustments to these measures determined in accordance with GAAP.

Adjusted Earnings per Share, Net Income and Return Ratios (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

Years Ended

(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)

December 31,
2017

December 31,
2016

December 31,
2017

December 31,
2016

Net Income

$289

$659

$3,033

$4,922

Deferred tax asset adjustment

746

746

Adjusted net income1

$1,035

$659

$3,779

$4,922

Net income available to common shareholders

$735

$370

$1,865

$3,766

Net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.10

$0.49

$1.11

Deferred tax asset adjustment

0.16

0.20

Adjusted earnings per share1

$0.16

$0.10

$0.69

$1.11

Return on average assets

0.14%

0.36%

0.39%

0.71%

Adjusted return on average assets1

0.50%

0.36%

0.49%

0.71%

Return on average equity

1.19%

3.84%

3.95%

7.69%

Adjusted return on average equity1

4.27%

3.84%

4.93%

7.69%

1 Adjusted net income, earnings per share, ROAA and ROAE remove the after tax effect of the charge to adjust deferred tax assets resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

  • Completed initial public offering and listed on Nasdaq under the symbol MRBK.
  • Raised $43.0 million in capital, net of offering costs.
  • Repurchased all of the outstanding shares of preferred stock, $12.8 million, which will eliminate $1.2 million in dividends annually going forward.
  • Loans, net of fees and costs increased over $20 million for the quarter.
  • Net-interest income rose 6.7% with net interest margin at 3.98%.
  • Mortgage division originated $169.6 million in loans during the quarter, earning an operating profit of $217 thousand.
  • Wealth division contributed $304 thousand in operating profit for the quarter.

Income Statement Summary

Results for the fourth quarter and year ending December 31, 2017, included an adjustment to income tax expense by $746 thousand, or $0.16 per share, related to a reduction in the carrying value of our net deferred tax asset. This fourth quarter adjustment was recognized due to the enactment of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017, which lowered our corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35%. Meridian’s earnings, beginning in 2018, are expected to benefit from the lower corporate income tax rates. However, as of December 31, 2017, we were required to re-measure our deferred tax positions at the lower federal income tax rates.

Reported net income of $289 thousand for the fourth quarter of 2017 generated a return on average assets (“ROAA”) and return on average equity (“ROAE”) of 0.14% and 1.19%, respectively. Adjusted net income, a non-GAAP financial measure, as shown in the tables above, was $1.0 million. The adjusted ROAA and ROAE, each a non-GAAP financial measure, were 0.50% and 4.27%, respectively.

Net income was $289 thousand for the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $659 thousand for the same period in 2016. The $370 thousand decrease in net income was attributable to an increase of $1.1 million in income tax expense, an increase in the provision for loan losses of $376 thousand, and an increase of $20 thousand in net noninterest expense (noninterest expense less noninterest income) partially offset by a $1.1 million increase in net interest income.

Interest income increased $1.7 million, or 20.8%, to $9.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2017 compared to $8.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016. This increase was largely due to the growth in the average balances of loans between periods of $72.7 million as well as the average yield on loans increasing 39 basis points to 5.25% in the three months ended December 31, 2017 from 4.86% in the three months ended December 31, 2016. Interest-earning cash and investments grew between periods $6.7 million with a corresponding increase on yield of 29 basis points to 1.96% in the three months ended December 31, 2017 from 1.67% in the three months ended December 31, 2016.

Interest expense increased $628 thousand, or 46.7%, to $2.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2017 compared to $1.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016. This increase was due to additional interest expense on deposits. The increase in deposit interest of $659 thousand was predominantly due to higher rates paid on all interest-bearing deposit types, driving cost of deposits up 33 basis points to 1.11% for the quarter, compared to 78 basis points for the same period in 2016. In addition to the rate increase, the average balance of interest-bearing deposits rose $104.9 million period over period. This increase in deposits was used to fund asset growth and reduce higher cost borrowings. Total borrowing expense decreased $31 thousand to $426 thousand as average borrowing levels dropped $48.2 million period over period.

Net interest income increased $1.1 million, or 15.7%, to $7.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2017, compared to $6.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016. This improvement resulted from the growth in average interest-earning assets of $79.4 million, in addition to a rise in the net interest margin of 15 basis points to 3.98% in the 2017 period from 3.83% in the 2016 period.

We recorded a provision for loan losses of $716 thousand for the three months ended December 31, 2017, up $376 thousand from $340 thousand for the same three-month period in 2016. The increased provision for the period relates in part to the loss incurred for a single commercial loan as well as the general component of the allowance for loan losses relative to the growth in our commercial and commercial real estate loan portfolios.

Other non-interest income decreased $1.7, or 15.5%, to $9.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2017 compared to $10.9 million during the same quarter of the prior year. The decrease was mostly attributable to a $4.4 million decrease in mortgage banking revenue caused by lower levels of mortgage originations and sales period over period. This decline in revenue was partially offset by an increase of $1.8 million in the fair value of loans held for sale, $841 thousand increase in wealth management revenue, increased earnings on investments in life insurance as well as gains on sales of loans and investments.

Non-interest expenses decreased $1.6 million, or 10.0%, to $14.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2017 from $16.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. This decrease was principally due to lower levels of salaries and employee benefits, and loan fees related to the mortgage division, which decreased a combined $2.1 million period over period, partially offset by higher costs relative to professional fees, occupancy, business development and other expenses related to growth.

Balance Sheet Summary

Total assets increased $52.1 million, or 6.5% during the fourth quarter and $122.3 million, or 16.7%, to $856.0 million at December 31, 2017 from $733.7 million at December 31, 2016. This growth was concentrated in our loan portfolio which increased by $85.8 million, or 13.3% year over year and $21.0 million or 3.0% during the quarter. Investment securities and cash increased $28.2 million or 46.8%, combined, during the period and $21.9 million or 33.0% year over year. Our overall asset growth was funded by an increase in deposits of $100.0 million, or 19.0%, to $627.1 million at December 31, 2017 from $527.1 million at December 31, 2016.

Loans held for investment increased $18.3 million, or 2.7% million during the quarter and $91.0 million, or 15.1%, for the year ended December 31, 2017. Commercial loans, commercial construction loans and commercial real estate loans increased a combined $28.1 million or 5.6% and $95.9 million or 22.0% for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, respectively. The growth in the commercial portfolios continue to reflect work of our strategically expanded lending team as well as strong local market conditions.

Residential loans held for investment, decreased $1.0 million, or 3.1%, and increased $2.3 million, or 7.4%, for the three and twelve months, respectively. At December 31, 2017, loans held for sale, which consists of closed residential first mortgage loans which the Bank has committed to sell to investors, totaled $35.0 million compared to $39.6 million at December 31, 2016. Home equity loans decreased $148 thousand or 0.2% and $1.3 million or 1.2% for the three and twelve months, respectively.

Deposits increased $9.5 million, or 1.5%, during the fourth quarter and $100.0 million, or 19.0%, to $627.1 million at December 31, 2017 from $527.1 million at December 31, 2016. This growth year over year was across all deposit categories. Non-maturity deposits, consisting of demand deposits, NOW accounts, money market accounts and regular savings accounts increased $68.0 million, or 19.9%. Certificates of deposit increased $32.0 million, or 17.2%. Core funding continues to be a strategic initiative and the deposit growth for the quarter resulted from our expanded business development team as well as the efforts from all sales personnel in our new branch markets.

Total equity increased $31.4 million, or 44.8%, to $101.3 million at December 31, 2017 from $70.0 million at December 31, 2016. This increase was attributable to the net proceeds of $43.0 million from our initial public offering of common stock in November, partially offset by the $12.8 million in repurchase of preferred stock, $2.0 million decrease in net income year over year and dividends to preferred shareholders of $1.2 million.

Asset Quality Summary

Asset quality remains strong. Net charge-offs were 0.09% of total average loans for the quarter ending December 31, 2017, compared with net charge-offs of 0.12% for the quarter ending December 31, 2016. Total non-performing assets, including loans and other real estate property, were $3.6 million as of December 31, 2017, and $5.3 million at December 31, 2016. The decrease of $2.7 million during the fourth quarter was due largely to the full payoff of a $2.2 million impaired commercial credit. The ratio of non-performing assets to total assets for quarter end was 0.42% compared to 0.73% as of December 31, 2016. As of December 31, 2017, the ratio of allowance for loan losses to non-performing assets and total loans, excluding mortgages available for sale, increased to 211% and 0.96%, respectively.

About Meridian Bank

Meridian Bank is a full-service commercial bank headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania with 20 offices in the greater Philadelphia Metro market. The Bank offers a full range of commercial and retail loan and deposit products, along with wealth management and electronic payment services. Meridian Mortgage, a division of the Bank, is a top tier provider of residential mortgage loans. For additional information, visit our website at www.meridianbanker.com. Member FDIC.

Forward-Looking Statements

Meridian Bank may from time to time make written or oral “forward-looking statements,” including statements contained in Meridian’s filings with the FDIC, in its reports to shareholders and in other communications by Meridian (including this press release), which are made in good faith by Meridian pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, such as statements of Meridian’s plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions that are subject to change based on various important factors (some of which are beyond Meridian’s control). The following factors, among others, could cause Meridian’s financial performance to differ materially from the plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements: the strength of the United States economy in general and the strength of the local economies in which Meridian conducts operations; the effects of, and changes in, trade, monetary and fiscal policies and laws, including interest rate policies of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; inflation, interest rate, market and monetary fluctuations; market volatility; the value of Meridian’s products and services as perceived by actual and prospective customers, including the features, pricing and quality compared to competitors’ products and services; the willingness of customers to substitute competitors’ products and services for Meridian’s products and services; credit risk associated with Meridian’s lending activities; risks relating to the real estate market and Meridian’s real estate collateral; the impact of changes in applicable laws and regulations and requirements arising out of our supervision by banking regulators; other regulatory requirements applicable to Meridian; technological changes; acquisitions; changes in consumer spending and saving habits; and the success of Meridian at managing the risks involved in the foregoing.

Meridian cautions that the foregoing list of important factors is not exclusive. Meridian does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of Meridian, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

FINANCIAL TABLES FOLLOW

Quarterly

(Dollars in Thousands, except per share data)

2017

2017

2017

2017

2016

4th QTR

3rd QTR

2nd QTR

1st QTR

4th QTR

Earnings and Per Share Data

   Net income

$289

$1,398

$1,243

$102

$659

   Net income available to common stockholders

($11)

$1,109

$954

($187)

$370

   Basic earnings per common share

($0.00)

$0.30

$0.26

($0.05)

$0.10

   Book value per common share

$15.86

$16.12

$15.81

$15.49

$15.50

   Common shares outstanding

6,392

3,685

3,685

3,685

3,685

   Average common shares outstanding

4,575

3,685

3,686

3,686

3,685

Performance Ratios

   Return on average assets

0.14%

0.70%

0.66%

0.06%

0.36%

   Return on average equity

1.19%

7.77%

7.20%

0.60%

3.84%

   Net interest margin (TEY)

3.98%

3.88%

3.91%

3.94%

3.84%

   Efficiency ratio

86%

84%

85%

98%

93%

Asset Quality Ratios

   Net charge-offs to average loans

0.09%

0.07%

0.02%

(0.02%)

0.12%

   Non-performing loans/Total loans

0.43%

0.87%

0.61%

0.67%

0.83%

   Non-performing assets/Total assets

0.42%

0.78%

0.53%

0.59%

0.73%

   Allowance for credit loss/Total loans

0.91%

0.90%

0.91%

0.87%

0.84%

   Allowance for credit loss/Total loans held for investment

0.96%

0.94%

0.96%

0.91%

0.90%

   Allowance for credit loss/Non-performing loans

210.71%

102.83%

149.30%

129.85%

101.90%

Capital Ratios

   Total equity/Total assets

12.85%

8.99%

9.11%

9.34%

9.54%

   Tangible common equity/Tangible assets

11.84%

7.39%

7.47%

7.63%

7.79%

   Tier 1 leverage ratio

12.37%

8.62%

8.79%

9.77%

9.67%

   Common tier 1 risk-based capital ratio

12.85%

7.46%

7.55%

8.37%

8.68%

   Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio

12.85%

9.20%

9.36%

10.25%

10.62%

   Total risk-based capital ratio

15.52%

11.93%

12.18%

13.09%

13.51%

Statement of Condition (Unaudited)

(Dollars in Thousands)

December 31, 2017

September 30, 2017

June 30, 2017

March 31, 2017

December 31, 2016

Assets

Cash & cash equivalents

$35,506

$9,527

$10,349

$17,140

$18,872

Investment securities

52,868

50,662

51,026

48,237

47,552

Mortgage loans held for sale

35,024

32,350

36,411

27,908

39,573

Loans, net of fees and costs

694,637

676,334

648,398

627,827

604,291

Allowance for credit losses

(6,709)

(6,359)

(6,214)

(5,709)

(5,425)

Bank premises and equipment, net

9,741

9,321

8,915

8,719

8,716

Bank owned life insurance

11,269

11,187

11,105

11,023

4,994

Other real estate owned

437

59

Other assets

23,263

20,825

20,671

13,540

15,120

Total Assets

$856,036

$803,906

$780,661

$748,685

$733,693

Liabilities & Stockholders’ Equity

Liabilities

Non-interest bearing deposits

$100,454

$101,061

$98,388

$93,205

$96,102

Interest bearing deposits

   Interest checking

81,872

80,420

79,525

77,591

70,582

   Money market / savings accounts

226,374

210,930

209,826

225,482

174,050

   Certificates of deposit

218,409

225,271

171,780

169,527

186,402

   Total interest bearing deposits

526,655

516,621

461,131

472,600

431,034

Total deposits

627,109

617,682

559,519

565,805

527,136

Borrowings

108,613

92,264

129,817

93,690

118,353

Subordinated debt

13,307

13,376

13,376

13,376

13,376

Other liabilities

5,645

8,350

6,811

5,871

4,865

Total Liabilities

754,674

731,672

709,523

678,742

663,730

Stockholder’s Equity

101,362

72,234

71,138

69,943

69,963

Total Liabilities & Stockholders’ Equity

$856,036

$803,906

$780,661

$748,685

$733,693

Condensed Statements of Income (Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

(Dollars in Thousands)

December 31, 2017

September 30, 2017

June 30, 2017

March 31, 2017

December 31, 2016

Interest income

$9,807

$9,191

$8,616

$8,104

$8,118

Interest expense

1,974

1,850

1,581

1,376

1,346

Net interest income

7,833

7,341

7,035

6,728

6,772

Provision for credit losses

716

665

621

159

340

Non-interest income

9,155

10,452

10,126

6,318

10,869

(Loss) gain on sale of loans/OREO

22

(2)

11

75

(2)

Non-interest expense

14,633

15,012

14,651

12,851

16,342

Income before income tax expense

1,661

2,114

1,900

111

956

Income tax expense

1,372

716

657

8

297

Net Income

$289

$1,398

$1,243

$102

$659

Preferred stock dividends and accretion

300

289

289

289

289

Net income available to common shareholders

($11)

$1,109

$954

($187)

$370

Weighted average common shares outstanding

4,575

3,685

3,685

3,685

3,685

Net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.30

$0.26

($0.05)

$0.10

Fully diluted common shares outstanding

4,575

3,713

3,715

3,711

3,686

Fully diluted net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.30

$0.26

-$0.05

$0.10

Statements of Income (Unaudited)

Quarter Ended

Twelve Months Ended

(Dollars in Thousands)

December 31, 2017

December 31, 2016

December 31, 2017

December 31, 2016

Interest Income

Interest and fees on loans

9,519

7,907

$34,666

$30,117

Investments

288

211

1,052

863

   Total interest income

9,807

8,118

35,718

30,980

Interest Expense

Deposits

1,548

889

4,627

3,470

Borrowings

426

457

2,154

1,722

   Total interest expense

1,974

1,346

6,781

5,192

Net interest income

7,833

6,772

28,937

25,788

Provision for loan losses

716

340

2,161

1,198

Net interest income after provision

7,117

6,432

26,776

24,590

Non-Interest Income

Mortgage banking revenue

7,762

12,198

32,044

41,431

Net change in fair value of loans held for sale

(306)

(2,100)

(253)

(833)

Wealth management fees

967

126

2,872

425

Earnings on investment in life insurance

82

31

276

125

Service charges

25

20

87

66

Gain (loss) on sale of securities

22

26

3

Gain (loss) on sale of loans/OREO

42

(2)

125

135

Other

583

593

914

1,492

   Total non-interest income

9,177

10,866

36,091

42,844

Non-Interest Expense

Salaries and employee benefits

9,372

10,998

38,516

40,852

Loan expenses

1,017

1,613

4,025

6,686

Occupancy & equipment

981

804

3,799

2,946

Professional fees

741

587

2,125

1,762

Advertising & business development

712

665

2,248

1,727

Data processing

291

282

1,162

1,146

Other non-interest expense

1,519

1,393

5,206

4,794

   Total non-interest expense

14,633

16,342

57,081

59,913

Net income before income tax expense

1,661

956

5,786

7,521

Income tax expense

1,372

297

2,753

2,599

Net Income

289

659

3,033

4,922

Dividends on preferred stock

300

289

1,168

1,156

Net Income available to common stockholders

($11)

$370

$1,865

$3,766

Weighted average common shares outstanding

4,575

3,685

3,743

3,362

Net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.10

$0.50

$1.12

Fully diluted common shares outstanding

4,575

3,694

3,770

3,389

Fully diluted net income per common share

($0.00)

$0.10

$0.49

$1.11

Chris Annas
484-568-5001
cannas@meridianbanker.com

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/meridian-bank-reports-fourth-quarter-and-full-year-2017-results-300590865.html

SOURCE Meridian Bank

Related Links

http://www.meridianbanker.com

White House Infrastructure Agenda Fails to Invest in the Transportation Americans Need

White House Infrastructure Agenda Fails to Invest in the Transportation Americans Need Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) responded to President Trump’s push for a massive 2018 infrastructure agenda during the State of the Union with muted optimism and skepticism. 

“When we look at the real-world outcomes that President Trump aims to achieve by investing in infrastructure—trails and active transportation networks excel at them all. Many of these projects bring considerable private, state and local investment to the table; federal active transportation investments deliver superior economic and social impact, and many regional trail projects are economic engines for rural communities. Investments in trails, walking and biking consistently stand up against every metric that the White House has put forward for evaluating infrastructure projects, yet this vital infrastructure is currently absent from the debate,” said Kevin Mills, senior vice president of policy at RTC.

“The president is right that our country’s infrastructure is in disrepair. The nation needs to maintain its roads, highways, bridges and railroads, while also investing in a balanced set of transportation choices that includes trail, walking and biking infrastructure. Only then will this infrastructure plan meet 21st-century needs and deliver meaningful outcomes to the nation—from jobs to increased tax revenues, affordable mobility, health and environmental impact.”

“While we’re optimistic about the much-needed focus on infrastructure investment that this proposal initiates, we will remain skeptical until smaller-scale projects with the potential to deliver outsized impact—such as trails and active transportation networks—are taken seriously. What is needed is an authentic, realistic national funding plan that delivers sufficient investment in balanced mobility choices and retains public responsibility for defining transportation priorities,” said Mills.

RTC is calling on the Administration—and ultimately Congress—to ensure that connected trail infrastructure and active transportation networks are included in any future federal infrastructure legislation. Specifically, this includes increasing funding for active transportation, focusing investment on completing trail and active transportation networks, and including active transportation projects across federal transportation programs.

Member organizations of the Partnership for Active Transportation, America Walks and LOCUS, have echoed RTC’s call for robust federal investment in trails, walking and biking as part of any future federal infrastructure legislation. For more information, visit RTC’s website

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

CONTACT: 
Patricia Brooks, patricia@matchmapmedia.com, 202.351.1757 

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/white-house-infrastructure-agenda-fails-to-invest-in-the-transportation-americans-need-300590859.html

SOURCE Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Related Links

http://railstotrails.org

Pres. Trump's State of the Union Address Points Way Forward on Making America Good and Prosperous

Pres. Trump's State of the Union Address Points Way Forward on Making America Good and Prosperous Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address:

“President Trump turned his State of the Union Address into an American pep rally. Cheering the American people for helping one another overcome a year of natural and man-made tragedies, the president cast a winning vision of unity. This is a president who is deeply committed to doing something rare in American politics — fulfilling campaign promises. In governing with courage and conviction, he is advancing policies essential to making America good and prosperous.

“The president spoke from the heart about our shared values as Americans. One of those values that binds us together is reflected in our motto; that we are one nation under God. President Trump understands that our freedom to unite under God has been under steady assault– and he’s spent the last year reversing this devastating trend. The reality is that if Americans don’t have the freedom to live according to their faith — whether it’s in the home, in the workplace, or in school — then we really can’t be free.

“The president tonight noted his ‘historic actions to protect religious liberty.’ This president knows that religious liberty isn’t found in political proclamations, but in the policies they inspire. That’s why this president who has not wavered in his determination to preserve freedom for those yet to be born.

“Yes, a lot changed during the Obama years. America went from being a zealous advocate of religious freedom and human rights for all people, to being a promoter of special rights for a few. But tonight’s speech is another reminder that times are changing back again. America now has the ability to promote and protect religious freedom both here and abroad.

“The president also spoke tonight about rebuilding the military. The military continues to recover from years of depleted resources and dangerously low morale as the previous administration treated the military as a laboratory of liberal social experimentation. Those Obama era policies led to chaplains being disciplined for their faith, and religious speech being censored. We must remain vigilant to ensure that laws and military policies protecting religious liberty are enforced, ensuring that service members have the freedom to not only believe, but act on those beliefs.

“President Trump tonight opened the door even wider to policies that make America a good and prosperous nation,” concluded Perkins.

Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pres-trumps-state-of-the-union-address-points-way-forward-on-making-america-good-and-prosperous-300590853.html

SOURCE Family Research Council

ATA Statement on State of the Union Address

ATA Statement on State of the Union Address Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued this statement following President Trump’s State of the Union address:

“America’s truckers commend President Trump for making infrastructure investment a priority of his presidency. While the state of our union is strong, the same cannot be said about the state of our roads and bridges. So therefore, we join the president in calling on Congress to work with the Administration on an infrastructure package that raises real revenue to meet the enormity of this challenge. Just as we did on tax reform, truckers are ready to help carry a solution forward.

“Roads are not a partisan issue – they’re driven on by Republicans and Democrats alike.  As both sides of Capitol Hill know, modernizing our infrastructure will require a substantial investment – actual, real revenue. America cannot be rebuilt with funding gimmicks and finance schemes. 

“Trucking’s proposal, the Build America Fund, is efficient, conservative and viable, and will generate $340 billion of real money in the first ten years.  We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration and educating the public on why a fuel user fee is the most cost-effective and conservative answer to fixing our deteriorating roads and bridges.”

American Trucking Associations is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter or on Facebook. Trucking Moves America Forward 

SOURCE American Trucking Associations

Top 10 Jungle Launches Its 2018 Salvation Funding Guide for Those With Too Much Debt

Top 10 Jungle Launches Its 2018 Salvation Funding Guide for Those With Too Much Debt Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

DALLAS, Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Top 10 Jungle, a leading provider of slick digital content and online reviews, launched its 2018 Salvation Funding Guide To Assist Consumers With Maxed Out Credit Cards.

“Maxing out credit cards is never a great idea – especially if you a relying on those cards to pay your monthly bills,” said Charlie Rose of Top 10 Jungle. “There will be a point when the music stops and you are completely maxed out. Then you will be stuck with those high interest credit card payments on top of your regular monthly expenses that you already couldn’t afford.”

Top 10 Jungle’s Salvation Funding Guide focuses on a few principles:

PRIORITIZE YOUR SPENDING:

Do you really need to go out for a nice dinner three times a week? Focus on what is important, take responsibility, and get your house in order.

GET CREATIVE

Go back to school so you can earn more. Take an online class. Get a second job. Don’t be passive. You need to take action.

GET SOME DEBT RELIEF

Top 10 Jungle recently published an article explaining five different ways to find debt relief. You may want to consider one of them.

1) Pay off your debt in monthly installments

2) Debt Settlement

3) Debt Consolidation

4) Debt Management or Counseling

5) Bankruptcy

Top 10 Jungle recently added popular companies such as Signature Preferred Financial, Golden Financial Services, Salvation Funding, & Instafinancial to its roster of covered companies.

ABOUT TOP 10 JUNGLE

Top 10 Reviews

Top 10 Jungle collects reviews and provides rankings for popular categories such as Debt Consolidation, Debt Relief, Debt Settlement, Personal loans, Medical alerts, VPN, Anti-Virus Software, Small Business Loans, Pet Insurance, Web hosting, Website building and much more.

Best Rated Products

The Best Rated Products Division is where you want to look when you are about to make a purchase. We cover a wide range of products from tablets, laptops, smart home devices, modems and e-Readers to the latest book you just have to read. We are adding categories daily. Our purpose is to make it easy for you to pick the best product and to be confident in your decision.

We have something for everyone at Top 10 Jungle and best of all – it’s free!

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SOURCE Top 10 Jungle

USW: Workers Want Trump and Republican Congressional Majority to Raise Wages; Create Jobs; Stop Outsourcing

USW: Workers Want Trump and Republican Congressional Majority to Raise Wages; Create Jobs; Stop Outsourcing Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — This statement was released today by United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard in response to President Trump’s State of the Union address.

“Much like his time on the campaign trail and his first year in office, the President spent this address talking about how much he has done and will do for workers. Unfortunately, this rhetoric runs headlong into reality.

“The President and congressional Republicans tried to take health care away from millions of families. They showered the wealthy and powerful with huge tax breaks and corporations with long-wanted roll backs in regulations. They’ve done nothing to curtail the outsourcing of good-paying American jobs or to ensure the safety of workers and their communities.

“On trade, the President outlined an action plan that, if fully implemented, could begin to reform the failed policies of the past. That is promising, but in many areas we are still waiting for results.

“Investigations were launched on steel and aluminum, but workers are still waiting to see what the President will do. NAFTA is being renegotiated, but we wait to see whether an updated agreement will rebalance the benefits so that working Americans gain greater job security and better wages.

“The trade deficit with China and the world, fueled by protectionist and predatory practices, continues to rise, and action is long overdue. While some positive steps have been taken, they have been too few and too insignificant.

“And now, congressional Republicans are talking about reversing the few good things that have been announced, including rolling back legitimate trade protections.         

“On infrastructure, the single most important job-creating proposal, workers are still waiting for action.  Initial signals are that the Administration wants to pursue a plan that will line the pockets of Wall Street financiers and allow foreign producers to provide the products that will be used to rebuild our country. That is not what workers expect, not what they heard during the election, and it is not the right way to move forward.

“On jobs, raising wages and many other issues, workers are still waiting for the campaign rhetoric to be matched by concrete action. They are becoming increasingly frustrated by a White House and Republican congressional majority more interested in looking out for their own self-interests than serving American families.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: www.usw.org

CONTACT:
Holly Hart (202) 778-4384   
hhart@usw.org

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

Related Links

http://www.usw.org

Golfing Legend Jack Nicklaus Adds Value to the First Golf Resort in Gelang Patah

Golfing Legend Jack Nicklaus Adds Value to the First Golf Resort in Gelang Patah Press Release from PRNEWSWIRE has been published today, Maciej Heyman, .

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia, Jan. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Forest City Golf Resort, valued at RM1.8 billion is poised to be another prestigious championship golf course in Johor, making the state a premier golfing destination.

It is also set to redefine golf tourism to embrace the “complete golf holiday experience.”

“Golf courses were mushrooming throughout the state in the early 1990s but a price war among the competitors, failure to add value to the golf packages and a lackadaisical attitude in upkeeping maintenance have affected the booming golf industry in Johor,” said Col. Mohd Jamal Salleh, President of Johor Golf Tourism Association.

“The Forest City Golf Resort, offering a tri-course, with the first 18 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son, is expected to further be a part of the bigger players in Johor to revive and add more value to the state as a golf paradise once again,” he said.

Mohd Jamal’s optimism is supported by the fact that Johor has the highest number of foreign direct investment, having a world-class golf resort will bode well with businessmen who also have a penchant for golf, as it provides the perfect setting for a warm-up session to a business discussion.

“A Date With Jack Nicklaus – the Golfing Legend” a preview programme on what the golf resort has to offer has brought His Majesty, the Sultan of Johor, DYMM Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and golfing legend, Mr Jack Nicklaus to the Forest City Golf Resort here today.

Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) has to date spent RM309 million on developing the golf resort which has three golf courses, a hotel and residential units.

Johor boasts the highest number of golf courses in the country, with 27 state-wide to date. Of these, it is believed that there are only 5 that have tri-courses.

The Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020) is expected to attract 36 million tourists to the country generating RM168 billion in tourist dollars, reportedly announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the tabling of Budget 2018 last October.

Datuk Md Othman Yusof, Executive Director of CGPV, said in his welcome speech that the first golf course named Forest City Legacy Golf Course, would give golfers the experience and affordability that are not found in other golf courses.

“Being only a stone’s throw away from the Woodlands checkpoint, this golf resort will attract international golfers, residents and visitors,” Md Othman said.

With robust growth in Gelang Patah, Md Othman said he believed not only will the golf resort give a boost to the tourism sector, the locals will also enjoy the spillovers of the development, in particular, job and business opportunities.

Md Othman said the Forest City Golf Hotel, which is expected to be completed by mid 2018, will offer a total of 460 job opportunities with 250 vacancies in hotel and 210 for the golf course.

“A total of 100 per cent of the staff at the hotel are locals,” Md Othman said, adding that the Golf Resort is being built under the second phase of Forest City.

“It is good news to golf enthusiasts from home and neighbouring countries, providing them with a notable experience, as the golf course showcased the masterpiece of someone who has designed more than 300 golf courses all over the world.

“Having our first golf course designed by a legend already sets the benchmark for our landscape design at CGPV. When fully completed, the Golf Resort is expected to have a total population of about 1,300 residents while the five-star hotel will cater to visitors from across the globe,” he said.

Aside from the three 18-hole golf courses, the area offers easy connectivity when a new expressway that links the Golf Resort to Forest City is ready soon. This will cut travelling time between the two destinations from the current 30 minutes to 15.

With a Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail station planned within Iskandar Malaysia, this will offer seamless accessibility to Forest City.

CGPV is also building a connecting road stretching 9.6km from Forest City to the golf resort, which will be ready next year.

Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus said the golf course was fully man-made as there was nothing there before.

This new development spurs Forest City as a green liveable city with global aspirations. It will complement the other current offerings in Forest City such as residential, retail and leisure, among others.

“We had to work the ninth and 18th greens around a hill, and the golf course has beautiful river views. From a player’s standpoint, the golf course we have designed is unique as golfers cannot find anything like it in Singapore or Malaysia,” he added.

Although the terrains are challenging, the golf course was built with the amateur golfer in mind, as well as for handicappers and professional golfers.

About Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd

Incorporated in Malaysia on 29 April 2013, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV) is the master developer of Forest City, Southeast Asia’s largest mixed-use green development at Iskandar. CGPV is a joint venture between Country Garden (60%) and Esplanade 88 Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (EDSB), an associated company of Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ).

About Forest City

The Forest City is a 30km2 mixed-use development located at Iskandar Malaysia. Adjacent to the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link, it is a JV development between Country Garden and Malaysian partner Esplanade Danga 88. With a committed investment of approximately US$100 billion, it comprises of four reclaimed islands with the twin themes of ‘integrating businesses and the city’ as well as ‘urban innovation’. The project aims to generate economic growth through eight key industries — tourism and MICE, healthcare, education and training, regional headquarters, nearshore finance, e-commerce service base in ASEAN, application of emerging technique and service centre, and sectors related to a green and smart city.

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SOURCE Forest City