A Week In Business

Bank Joins Marketplace

BERLIN — Calvin B. Taylor Bankshares, Inc., holding company for Taylor Bank, has been approved to trade on OTCQX, the top financial marketplace operated by OTC Markets Group.

Calvin B. Taylor Bankshares, Inc. is among eight publicly-traded banks and bank holding companies nationwide that were admitted to the marketplace under new streamlined qualifications for community and regional banks announced earlier this year.

The announcement expands the OTCQX marketplace for U.S. and international companies and distinguishes publicly-traded community and regional banks that are strongly-capitalized, transparent in their news and disclosure and committed to enhancing value for their shareholders.

“We are thrilled to welcome our first banks to the OTCQX marketplace,” said R. Cromwell Coulson, President and CEO of OTC Markets Group. “Since its launch in 2007, OTCQX has provided established U.S. and international companies an informed and efficient public trading market and OTCQX companies have distinguished themselves with investors through a combination of rigorous qualitative and quantitative financial standards, wide distribution of their news and financial disclosure and third-party sponsorship. Now that OTCQX is open to serving the unique needs of strong, well-capitalized U.S. banks, they can leverage their existing regulatory reporting requirements and the OTCQX marketplace to increase their profile with investors nationwide.”

New Agent Announced

OCEAN CITY — Re/Max Crossroads recently welcomed Jessica Lynch to the Elaine Davidson Group, located at the Ocean City office.

A Temple University graduate with a Communications/Public Relations degree, Lynch has worked in Internet marketing, accounting, property management and new construction.

Lynch chose to relocate to the area eight years ago for her love of the beach. She resides in Berlin with her husband and two daughters where they also own and operate their family business Lynch Plumbing LLC.

In her free time, she is active in her fundraising efforts in both national and local charities.

Real Estate Market Update

BERLIN – The Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR)is reporting that market trends are looking up for Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties.

Local statistics show that sales/contracts and settlements are up while inventory is down in both Somerset and Wicomico counties, but easing back slowly. Reports also show the average sales price for single family homes in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset are all up.

National reports provide evidence to show that homes today are priced to please sellers because they know they can squeeze buyers eager to buy before interest rates and home prices shoot up further.

“Our members are pleased to see residential numbers showing an improvement over this time last year,” said Sheila Dodson, CAR Executive Director. “We also know experts are predicting that 2014 will be the last year that low inventory will help property prices. They say that distressed inventory is drying up and sellers are looking at better profits than they have in years.”

Bank Announcements

BERLIN — Hampton Roads Bankshares, Inc., the holding company for The Bank of Hampton Roads (BHR) and Shore Bank recently made two announcements.

Shore Premier Finance (SPF), a new specialty consumer finance unit of Shore Bank, has been launched to focus on marine financing for US Coast Guard documented vessels. SPF will be based in Baltimore and will consist of a team of seasoned lending professionals who joined SPF from a large European bank, including its former Global Director of Boat Financing.

“We welcome this outstanding team to Hampton Roads Bankshares and Shore Bank and we are excited that marine finance is now part of our business,” said Douglas J. Glenn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Chief Executive Officer of BHR. “Our ‘One Bank’ plan is focused on excellence, consistency and maximizing the choices we offer our customers. The launch of SPF creates a compelling value proposition that is unique to our company and supports our vision of ‘Making Dreams Come True’. We know SPF’s team well and have great respect for the strong business they have built over the past five-plus years, their deep expertise in marine finance and related areas and the quality of the customers they will bring to our company.”

In other company news, Gregg Smith has joined BHR as a Commercial Relationship Manager. In this role, Smith will be responsible for managing banking relationships with commercial and industrial clients, and handling commercial and residential real estate loans, including construction. He will based in Norfolk, Va.

“We are very excited to have Gregg join our team. His career spans nearly three decades of banking experience in Norfolk, and he has been recognized as one of the top loan and deposit producers in the region,” said W. Thomas Mears, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shore Bank and President of Commercial Banking. “Our ‘One Bank’ strategy is built on a foundation of experienced bankers with strong community ties, and Gregg’s deep understanding of our market and the needs of our customers will be a tremendous asset.”

Hotel Earns Award

OCEAN CITY – The Princess Royale Oceanfront Hotel & Conference Center announced this week that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award.

The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings. Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, volume and recency of reviews. Additional criteria include a business’ tenure and popularity ranking on the site.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for our entire team at the Princess Royale and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said General Manager Michael Foelber

Realtor Attends Convention

OCEAN CITY — Housing and private property issues were top of mind for more than 8,500 Realtors who convened in Washington, D.C., last week during the 2014 Realtor Party Convention & Trade Expo.

Bud Church of Coldwell Banker Bud Church Realty Inc. was among fellow Realtors from across the country who attended the meetings and visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

A number of critical residential and commercial real estate issues took center stage at this year’s meetings. Sessions focused on pressing topics like protecting real estate-related tax policies, reforming the secondary mortgage market and the accessibility of mortgage credit and loan programs.

“As the leading advocate for homeownership and real estate issues, Realtors want to make sure these critical issues are recognized by our country’s leaders and remain as a top priority for them,” said Church. “Homeownership and commercial investment play a critical role in the long and short term health of this nation.”

While he was in Washington, Church met with U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill to influence public policy decisions that will directly affect consumers’ ability to buy, sell and own real estate. Church also urged Senators to reinstate the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which expired at the end of 2013. The expired tax provision provided relief to individuals following a loan modification, short sale or foreclosure.

“With proposed legislation being debated in Congress this term that could have a significant impact on consumers and the real estate market, it was important for Realtors to meet with lawmakers,” said Church. “Through the strength of the Realtor Party, we clearly conveyed our position on key issues that affect home buyers, sellers and real estate investors right here in Ocean City.”

Throughout the week Realtors participated in sessions with a number of government officials and industry experts who addressed many of today’s critical housing, mortgage finance and real estate investment issues. During one session, Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a blueprint for greater consumer access to credit through a new FHA housing counseling program. Donovan said the agency is taking additional steps to expand access to mortgage credit for underserved borrowers.

Conference Attended

OCEAN CITY — Mann Properties Vice President Igor Conev recently attended the national conference for community managers in Orlando, Fla. from May 14-17.

Conev, only one of two managers from the Delmarva Peninsula, attended 16 hours in advanced classes in governance, legal, insurance and risk management. Conev belongs to the prestigious elite of managers by holding the highest designation, the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), from the Community Association Institute (CAI). Less than 3% of the practicing community managers in the county hold the PCAM designation.

Mann Properties belongs to the Top 2% elite club of management firms which have achieved the Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) designation from CAI.