Written by Miami Today on September 17, 2009
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BRAZILIAN ROUNDUP: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s weeklong, three-city trip to Brazil last month may already be bearing fruit. "Several prospects, several good companies are looking to enter the US through Miami," said Liane Ventura, chamber senior vice president of international business development. Among them, she added, are a big-box retailer and several corporations. While she wouldn’t identify companies, she said they’re currently in talks with potential investors.
CHASING CUSTOMERS: Chase Bank, which recently finished converting all of Seattle-based Washington Mutual’s branches into its own after purchasing the ailing bank a year ago for $1.9 billion, is to begin hiring more than 100 added personal bankers for its South Florida region, says spokesperson Nancy Norris. "Personal bankers have the individual relationships with our customers, can make loans, open checking accounts and if they are licensed they can sell mutual funds," she wrote in an e-mail. "A big part of Chase’s strategy is having several personal bankers at each branch."
STIMULUS SOLICITATION: Miami-Dade County is applying for $106 million in federal stimulus aid to fund the planned second phase of the ongoing Northwest 25th Street viaduct project — and the industry is rallying behind. A sample letter to US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is circulating, informing the top gun that "The NW 25th Street Corridor and Viaduct project is the logistical backbone supporting MIA’s air-cargo industry. The current and projected levels of roadway congestion on NW 25th Street and the corresponding delays increase the cost of doing business in an industry that operates on thin margins." The first phase of the viaduct is under construction and set for July 2011 completion. The plan was to build the second half using stimulus money the feds already awarded, but the state rerouted it to its State Roads 826-836 interchange project. "Unfortunately, due to state funding shortfalls, the Phase II at-grade improvements and elevated viaduct so critical to our industry will remain un-finished," the letter says, "jeopardizing our business and Miami’s leading position as a gateway for international cargo."
NEW TOP ADVISER: Chartered life underwriter Chris Wolfe succeeds Edwin Demeritte as president of the 500-member National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Miami-Dade Chapter.