In the Region Harbor Federal posts 14.1 percent...

BUSINESS DIGEST

April 25, 2000

In the Region

Harbor Federal posts 14.1 percent increase in net income for year

Harbor Federal Bancorp Inc. posted net income of $2 million for the past fiscal year, a 14.1 percent jump from the previous year. For the fiscal year that ended March 31, the holding company for Harbor Federal Savings Bank reported earnings per share of $1.23, up from 99 cents the year earlier when the company earned a $1.8 million net profit.

Fueled by a strong market for mortgages and other loans, net interest income for the year was $7.4 million, up from $6.8 million the year before. Noninterest income fell from $638,000 to $431,000 for the year, mostly because of the closing of Bank Street Mortgage Company. Over the same period, the company's assets increased 5.7 percent to $253 million.

Harbor Federal Savings Bank operates branches in Baltimore and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

Department of Interior extends EarthShell pact

EarthShell Corp. said the pilot program under which it has supplied its biodegradable plates and bowls to the U.S. Department of Interior has been extended.

The DOI has been using the Baltimore company's environmentally-friendly packaging in its main cafeteria and composting it at an area facility since Earth Day, April 22, 1999. EarthShell will continue to supply the department until it finalizes the commercial manufacturing and pricing of its products. At that time, the company will negotiate for a contract with the department.

Continental Airlines sues over baggage size limits

Continental Airlines sued United Airlines and Washington Dulles International Airport yesterday, contending that the baggage-size restrictors at the airport put it at a competitive disadvantage.

Houston-based Continental complained that the plastic cutouts, or templates, on the X-ray conveyor belts installed April 15 at Dulles force the airline's customers to use carry-on baggage that meets United's smaller standard. The templates prevent oversize bags from going through.

"We have invested millions of dollars in bigger [overhead] bins and closets, and we want our customers to be able to use them," Continental spokeswoman Sarah Anthony said.

Sallie Mae to cut 300 jobs in Massachusetts, Virginia

SLM Holding Corp., better known as Sallie Mae, said yesterday that it will cut 300 jobs, or about 8 percent of its workforce at its Reston, Va., headquarters and in Braintree, Mass., by the end of the second quarter through layoffs and attrition. Most of those affected are administrative employees. Sallie Mae will have about 3,500 employees after the cuts.

Rising interest rates have led to higher borrowing costs for Sallie Mae, squeezing the profit it earns between the student loans it buys and the rate at which it borrows. Last quarter, the margin shrank to 1.62 percent from 1.98 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Sallie Mae, founded 26 years ago, owns and manages student loans for about 5.3 million borrowers. It has reduced its staff by about 1,500 workers in the past three years. A third of this round of cuts will be through attrition.

Elsewhere

Worldwide ad income increases 22 percent; U.S. economy noted

Advertising agencies' worldwide income soared nearly 22 percent to $31.2 billion last year, industry bible Advertising Age reported yesterday, noting the strong U.S. economy, the surge in dot-com advertising and continued agency consolidation.

Agencies' revenue growth was the strongest in two decades, it said. Advertisers spent $235.5 billion last year to build their brands and reach consumers around the world, Ad Age said, releasing its 56th annual rating of ad agencies. A report issued last week said $4.6 billion of that total was spent to advertise online.

Noting the influence of what he called "dot-com mania," Advertising Age Editor Scott Donaton said: "There are so many of these marketing companies that popped into being which didn't exist before, many of them with pretty healthy advertising budgets."

United Airlines pilots reject 13.4% pay increase

UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, the biggest U.S. carrier, offered its pilots a 13.4 percent wage increase earlier this month but the top council for the pilots union rejected the raise.

Accepting the increase might have made "some people think things were better than they were," said Herb Hunter, spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 10,000 United pilots, in explaining the decision by the union master executive council not to accept the offer.

The 13.4 percent increase would have taken effect on April 12 and would have been in addition to the 5.7 percent wage boost the pilots received that day as the current contract unwound concessions that were made in 1994.

SEC guidelines expected for online prospectuses

The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to set guidelines today for public companies that post prospectuses and other sensitive information for investors online, said an SEC official.

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