Business briefs for July 6th-12th

Kinghorn makes charitable donation

Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort has been holding an annual food drive in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Insurance Brokers in Charleston.  

This year, they have raised over 2,000 pounds of food, which was donated to Help of Beaufort on June 30 to serve the hungry in the community.  

Palmetto Goodwill to offer culinary training

Palmetto Goodwill is partnering with the Lowcountry Food Bank and Holy City Hospitality to offer a free two-week Culinary Kick-Start Program including prep-cook training, job preparation and placement.

The community partnership provides program participants with:

• Hands-on training: Each candidate will complete four full days of prep-cook training at the Lowcountry Food Bank and two days of on-the-job training at Holy City Hospitality Kitchens. Participants will learn food safety and sanitation, kitchen equipment use and knife basics.

• Job readiness course: Succeeding in the workplace requires more than experience and training. Employers are looking for people who have the “soft skills” that lead to success. Palmetto Goodwill’s Soft Skills for Workplace Success course provides the tools candidates need to get, keep and excel in their jobs, including time management, conflict resolution, workplace demeanor and professionalism.

• Job placements: Following the program, Goodwill will work with candidates one-on-one to identify and prepare them for appropriate job opportunities, including resume writing and interview skills. The program will commence with an opportunity to interview with several restaurants, including The Victor Social Club, Vincent Chiccos, Michael’s on the Alley and more.

The program will run from Aug. 14-25. There are a limited number of spots available. Those interested in applying should visit palmettogoodwill.org/cook. 

Applications are due no later than Friday, July 14.

Positive outlook for Homeownership Month

The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA) is releasing its 2016 Mortgage Log Analysis Report and its 2016 Credit Counseling Report. 

The Mortgage Log Analysis Report contains details from mortgage loan applications including the amount of the loan, the demographics of the borrowers, the terms of the loan and the annual percentage rate (APR).

The report compares data received from licensed mortgage brokers and lenders from the 2012 through 2016 calendar years. The number of approved applications remained over 60 percent, a marked departure from 2012-2014 where the approval rate was less than 50 percent. Other highlights include:

• Denial based on credit history increased from 27.9 percent in 2015 to 31.5 percent in 2016, but is still well below the high of 51 percent in 2011.

• Loans to purchase manufactured housing increased 3.4 percent from 2015.

• In 2016, 86.3 percent of mortgage applications were for 20-30 year terms, the highest percentage since 2011.

• The average loan amount continued to rise, increasing from $188,674 in 2015 to $205,707 in 2016.

• The average APR decreased from 4.6 percent in 2015 to 4.2 percent in 2016. This is the second lowest APR reported since 2011, the lowest being 3.9 percent in 2012.

• The average credit score of applicants has remained fairly steady since 2014.

The Credit Counseling Report consists of data provided by consumer credit counseling organizations and outlines the state of consumer debt in South Carolina. 

During 2016, the average consumer debt dropped by more than 5 percent from $19,060 to $18,049, breaking a trend of consistent increases since 2013. The amount is well below the high of $24,876 reported in 2009. 

Credit counselors distributed over $28 million to creditors on behalf of enrolled consumers in 2016. This is the lowest amount reported since 2007.

Diamond, Palmetto groups merge

Diamond Transportation, a provider of luxury passenger transportation,  has merged its operations with Bluffton-based Palmetto Transportation.

The merger creates a passenger transportation company with a fleet of 22 luxury vehicles and a complement of 40 drivers. 

Jordan Craft, the owner of Palmetto Transportation, will become Diamond Transportation’s president and CEO and will have a significant ownership stake in the business.

“I am very happy to merge my company with Diamond, to lead the combined organization and to become a business partner with David Boucher,” said Craft. “This merger brings the combined organization to critical mass, leveraging Diamond’s existing technology and safety systems to Palmetto’s sizeable fleet of vehicles.” 

Visit hiltonheadrides.com.

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