Local investors take big dose of hospital bonds

Things got local quickly when Wells Fargo managed the recent $30 million bond sale to help build Boulder Community Hospital’s new look at its Foothills campus.

Local investors snapped up as much as 30 percent, or about $9 million, of those bonds, said Will Douglas, director of Denver-based Wells Fargo Securities Public Finance Healthcare Investment Banking, which handled the sale.

“There was very good participation by everybody in the community, and that was our hope,” Douglas said. “So, they’re happy, and we’re happy.”

Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), based in San Francisco, usually shoots for a 20 percent to 25 percent local investor sale rate on municipal and similar bonds, Douglas said.

To woo local hospital investors, Wells Fargo sent out letters to “friends and family” of Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder County, Colorado residents and institutional investors across the nation.

With federal interest rates so low, there’s been a general surge in individual retail demand for bonds anyway, Douglas said. BCH bond investors are expected to get a rate of return in the low 4 percent range, he said.

The hospital is using the money to add more than 100,000 square feet of clinical space to the Foothills campus, at the northeast corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Foothills Parkway. When all is said and done, all inpatient acute-care services will move there from the current hospital building on Broadway.

Credit unions can grow

Boulder Valley Credit Union is on a drive to increase its membership by 10 percent — about 2,000 new members.

The credit union has expanded its membership to anyone, not just teachers, following approval in early November from the Colorado Division of Financial Services. Elevations Credit Union in Boulder received similar approval.

“We’re trying to position ourselves to better serve the community and not have to turn folks away who are interested in taking advantage of the credit union and the value it provides,” said Steve Carr, a credit union spokesman.

The credit union has about 20,000 teacher members served by two branches in Boulder, one in Louisville and one in Estes Park. The credit union also has branches at Boulder and Fairview high schools in Boulder, Monarch High School in Louisville and Centaurus High School in Lafayette. It was founded in 1959 and has more than $260 million in assets.

To save or to earn?

Is it smarter to save more money or earn more income?

That’s the question Robert Kiyosaki spins in a new monthly column on GoBankingRates.com. The author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” who has drawn controversy for some of his unconventional ideas about personal finance, recently teamed up with the website as a contributor.

Kiyosaki’s advice has gotten attention across the nation in recent years by anyone eager to find ways to grow their personal finances.

Many consumers believe that working hard and saving money is the safe way to grow wealth, Kiyosaki wrote in the first column. However, he added, those actions yield small and predictable results.

People who treat investing as a regular “expense” usually are more likely to find financial wealth and freedom, he said. Investors who “pay themselves first” by using money they put aside for investments are the ones most likely to do well, he wrote.

Our own local money guru, Peter Braun, has told us a variation of this before: “Those who understand interest, earn it. Those who don’t, pay it.”

Kiyosaki co-authored the book “Midas Touch” with money man Donald Trump.

GoBankingRates.com collects interest rate information from more than 4,000 U.S. banks and credit unions around the nation. It belongs to a network of more than 1,500 financial websites.

A capital idea

Bank regulators are discussing plans to require banks to hold more capital as a way to avoid a potential future meltdown.

In the most recent financial crisis, which started in 2008 in connection with a growing number of mortgage defaults, many banks continued to pay dividends to investors and discretionary bonuses to executives, even as they were losing money.

Bankers and others in the financial industry have told me in the past that requiring increased capital requirements is a step in the wrong direction. Under discussion is a capital conservation buffer of 2.5 percent of risk-weighted assets, according to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the latest plans, which could go into effect on Jan. 1, depending on what happens in testimony in the next six weeks.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or bpotter@bcbr.com

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