As if lines at the post office weren’t already slow:
The U.S. Postal Service is considering adding new financial products, including its own reloadable prepaid card and small loans, as a way to generate traffic and revenues as mail volumes decline, according to a report from the agency’s inspector general. It would mean competition for the payday loan industry.
The creator of Beanie Babies deserves prison for tax evasion, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. Last week, Ty Warner argued that his “terrible mistake” warranted only probation. The Chicago Tribune has the stories.
Ty Warner makes case for leniency in his upcoming sentencing; he faces up to five years in prison. In a court filing, he details his “unhappy” childhood.
Update for animal lovers: I just received a Christmas card from the woman who in 2012 adopted Boots, the cat saved by Fifth Third Bank:
“Boots is doing great. She is happy and healthy. She loves spending cold nights on the rug in front of the sun room’s gas stove. She loves my dog. She is a pure joy in my life. I feel as though I’ve known her since she was born.”
I had a scoop in the Dec. 24 Chicago Tribune about Joe Lieberman, the former U.S. senator and 2000 vice presidential nominee, becoming chairman of a Chicago-based investment firm. I interviewed him, as well as some of the firm’s principals, for about 15 minutes over the phone on Monday. Lieberman, who is primarily living in New York these days, sounds exactly like he does on C-SPAN and the Sunday morning talk shows. I had to interrupt him a few times during the interview because I knew my time with him was limited and there were questions I had to squeeze in.
Two Madison Dearborn executives with a combined 26 years of experience at the Chicago-based private equity firm are leaving to start a new investment house.
Tim Hurd, a managing director who headed Madison Dearborn’s financial services team, and Edward Magnus, a director who also worked on his team, are starting BlueSpruce Investments LP. It will invest in “public, marketable securities” across multiple asset classes, according to a letter from the firm.
“BlueSpruce Investments has the backing and the support of some of the most prominent and sophisticated families and investors in the United States,” they said.
The two have been involved in Nuveen Investments, which became a Madison Dearborn portolio company in 2007. In light of their leaving, Madison Dearborn Co-Chief Executive Sam Mencoff will join the Nuveen board, Madison Dearborn said in a separate letter to investors.
Vahe Dombalagian, a Madison Dearborn managing director in its financial services team, will become the lead deal partner on the investment and he take over the firm’s financial services investment. Dombalagian recently led Madison Dearborn’s recent investment in EVO Payments, the payment processing company, and was also a lead partner on the firm’s profitable investment in TransUnion.
Madison Dearborn also said the it believes “the most compelling investment opportunities” in financial services are in financial technology, information services, consulting, data/analytics and insurance services, “all of which are areas where we have significant expertise and domain knowledge.”
Madison Dearborn has evaluated more than 50 bank deals since the economic downturn, but hasn’t made any deals in that area of the financial services business.
Before joining Madison Dearborn, Hurd was with Goldman Sachs & Co. He currently serves on the boards CapitalSource Inc., Nuveen Investments Inc., Children’s Memorial Foundation, the Latin School of Chicago, and the endowment and investment committee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Magnus had been with Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette in the financial institutions group. He is on the board of directors of EVO Merchant Services and Nuveen Investments, Inc.
Both Hurd and Magnus have bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and master’s in business administration from Harvard.
By Becky Yerak
Allstate Corp. is closing a claims office in Cross Plains, Wis., to “be more efficient,” a spokesman for the Northbrook-based home and auto insurer confirmed Wednesday.
Located outside of Madison, the facility has 214 workers.
Allstate said the workers could apply for 110 similar claims jobs that are open elsewhere nationwide, so the net job loss will be at least 104.
Allstate said it has eight other offices like this one nationwide, and technology enables the company to handle claims elsewhere, an Allstate spokesman said.
“There will be no net impact on customers,” he said.
Allstate-branded policy counts have also been down in recent years.