Other items: Defense business tied to budget cuts; Online jeweler adds Canadian Web site; Wal-Mart, Discover to issue credit card ...

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Pacific Northwest

Washington’s payday loan industry nearly doubled in size between 2000 and 2003, according to a report released yesterday by the state Department of Financial Institutions.

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In 2003, the most recent year for which data was available, $1.07 billion in small, short-term loans were made through 378 payday loan offices statewide, the report found. That represented an 84.3 percent increase in loan volume and a 31.7 increase in the number of branch offices.

The average loan amount rose from $316.75 in 2000 to $358.54 in 2003, according to the report.

Based on detailed records from the four largest payday lenders, representing 55 percent of total loan volume, about half of payday loan customers took out between five and 16 loans in 2003. The average length of all loans was 17.9 days.


Boeing

Defense business tied to budget cuts

Boeing expects Pentagon budget-cut proposals to hit its top defense program, the head of its military business said in an interview published yesterday.

“If I take a look at Boeing and the programs we have, my sense is that all big programs will be taxed to some degree,” said Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems.

Defense cuts were spelled out in an internal Pentagon memo revealed early this month. The plan would reduce previously budgeted purchases by $6 billion in fiscal 2006, which begins Oct. 1, and nearly $30 billion through 2011.

Boeing, the Pentagon’s No. 2 supplier, faces possible cuts to funding for missile defense, the Pentagon’s largest spending program, as well as in orders for the V-22 Osprey aircraft program, which Boeing has developed with Textron.


Blue Nile

Online jeweler adds Canadian Web site

Seattle-based online jeweler Blue Nile said yesterday that it has launched a Canadian Web site, at www.bluenile.ca, and is partnering with the online arm of Canadian retailer Indigo Books & Music. Through the partnership, Indigo will begin selling high-end jewelry online for the first time.


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Discover

Wal-Mart, Discover to issue credit card

In the latest challenge to the Visa and MasterCard dominance of the American credit-card market, Discover Financial Services announced yesterday that it is teaming up with Wal-Mart to issue a new credit card to customers of the world’s largest retailer.

It is Discover’s first major card deal since the U.S. Supreme Court last October let stand an antitrust ruling that forced Visa and MasterCard to stop preventing their member banks from issuing rival cards. That made it possible for Discover and the American Express to begin seeking American partners to issue their cards.

American Express last year announced its first deals, with specialty card issuer MBNA and Citibank, a unit of Citigroup.

Compiled from Seattle Times

business staff, Reuters and

The Associated Press