Business Digest: Lender launches $250 million real estate fund


REAL ESTATE

Lender launches $250 million real estate fund

Noble Capital, a Texas-based private lending firm, said it is starting a new fund to provide investment opportunities in the state’s real estate market.

Noble Capital, which currently manages a loan portfolio in the state of nearly $140 million, said the new fund, one of the largest of its kind, will invest exclusively in the Texas residential market and focus mainly on Austin, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Individuals or family offices who are investing capital in the fund can be located anywhere. However, people borrowing money from the fund, through the company’s subsidiary, Streamline Funding, must reside in Texas, and use the money for projects located in Texas. Potential borrowers include individuals or businesses planning to purchase single-family rental properties or fixer-uppers to flip, as well as developers seeking to build single-family homes.

Noble is launching the fund along with US Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based private investment bank, through the firm’s private securities division, US Capital Global Securities.

WORKFORCE

Feds warn companies: Don’t overlook U.S. workers

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration issued a warning to U.S. companies as they began applying for coveted skilled-worker visas Monday, cautioning that it would investigate and prosecute employers that overlook qualified American workers for the jobs.

The message came on the opening day of applications for American employers seeking visas known as H-1B, which are used mostly by technology companies to bring in programmers and other specialized workers from other countries.

The Obama administration sued companies for violating the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provisions, including businesses that favored foreigners over U.S. workers. But Monday’s warning in a news release at the start of the visa process appeared to be a first-of-its kind signal to employers not to put American workers at a disadvantage.

ECONOMY

U.S. factories continue expansion in March

WASHINGTON — American factories expanded for the seventh straight month in March but at a slightly slower pace than they did in February.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its manufacturing index slipped to 57.2 last month from February’s 57.7, which was the highest in more than two years. Still, anything above 50 signals growth, and the March reading was slightly better than economists expected.

New orders and production grew more slowly last month, but hiring and new export orders grew faster, according to the ISM, a trade group of purchasing managers. The Labor Department reported earlier that factories added 28,000 jobs in February, the most in more than a year.

RETAIL

Amazon debuts new Amazon Cash service

SEATTLE — Amazon.com is adding a new service that allows cash to be uploaded to an Amazon account at various brick-and-mortar retailers, which would make it easier for those outside of the banking system to shop online.

The service, dubbed Amazon Cash, was unveiled Monday. Customers would show a personalized Amazon Cash bar code to a cashier at a CVS Pharmacy, Speedway or other participating store. Then they would give the cashier the money they want added to their account, which shows up as an Amazon Gift Card in their balance. There are no fees, Amazon says.

Minimum transactions are $15 and the maximum is $500. But it’s not a bank account, because the cash can’t be pulled out, only used to buy goods or services from Amazon.

A 2015 national survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation determined that 7 percent of U.S. households, some 9 million, did not have bank accounts at an insured banking institution.



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