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In brief

By Times staff and wires
Published May 2, 2006

First Advantage buys screening company

First Advantage Corp. of St. Petersburg has acquired Inquest Inc., a regional employment screening company in Los Gatos, Calif. No price was disclosed. First Advantage said Monday the acquisition will help the company expand its market share on the West Coast for employer services.

Clearwater firm not in NetBank's sales plans

NetBank Inc. of Atlanta said it plans to sell its mortgage servicing platform and most of its portfolio of mortgage servicing rights. The company said it expects the sale to free up between $20-million and $35-million in risk-based capital that it could use in other business initiatives. Clearwater-based Market Street Mortgage, a NetBank subsidiary, said it will not be affected by the move.

I bond returns drop while EE bonds rise

I bond investors will earn less, while EE investors will earn more under new savings bond interest rates announced Monday. The rate on newly issued I bonds dropped from 6.73 percent to 2.41 percent, based on a big drop in the rate of inflation. The rate on new EE bonds is 3.7 percent, up from 3.2 percent. The rates apply to bonds issued from May through October. Go to to find out what older bonds are earning.

House passes bill on insurance changes

The Florida House on Monday passed a bill aimed at expanding the number of companies selling home insurance in the state, encouraging housing upgrades and helping homeowners absorb the cost of bailing out those who can't get private insurance. Homeowners' premiums have been going up by frightening amounts and homeowners are having costs added to their bills to bail out Citizens Property Insurance, the state-created company that covers people who can't get private insurance. The measure, which needs Senate approval, would use $920-million to offset the shortage Citizens has after paying claims on eight hurricanes in two years. But the long-term fix envisioned by supporters of the bill is to make Florida more attractive to insurance companies. The idea is that the more companies that write policies here, the more affordable insurance will be.

T-bill rates rise

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest levels in more than five years. The Treasury Department auctioned $15-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.685 percent, up from 4.635 percent last week. An additional $14-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.780 percent, up from 4.735 percent last week.

[Last modified May 2, 2006, 06:16:11]

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