Local business in brief, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017 GMT

First National Santa Fe part of another merger

Strategic Growth Bancorp, the parent company of First National Santa Fe, has announced another merger, this time with Sunflower Financial.

The new holding company, FirstSun Capital Bancorp, will be the third largest Colorado-headquartered institution by total assets.

The regional banking company will have 60 offices in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas, and the bank will be organized into eight regions. In Colorado, Kansas and Missouri, the bank will operate as Sunflower Bank, and in New Mexico and Texas, the brand name will be First National 1870.

“We’re excited about the new products and services we will be introducing in all our communities,” said Mollie Hale Carter, chief executive officer of FirstSun Capital Bancorp, said in a statement. “Together we are bringing clients across our markets enhanced small business banking, personal banking, and mortgage solutions, as well as wealth management services for individuals and institutions.”

Michelle Coons, formerly of First National Rio Grande and First National Santa Fe, will serve as regional president of the company serving Northern New Mexico.

Presbyterian Española Hospital opens emergency department

Presbyterian Española Hospital celebrated the grand opening of its new emergency department on June 14.

Over the past five years, the hospital has seen significant growth in patient visits with more than 27,000 visits in 2016. As a result, Presbyterian has added five more rooms and created space for all rooms to be private.

“We are grateful for the support of Rio Arriba County residents, who recognize the importance of quality health care close to home by supporting a hospital mill levy,” said Brenda Romero, administrator, Presbyterian Española Hospital. “We partner with the Rio Arriba County Commission to prioritize health care needs and ensure that mill levy funds are used to benefit residents throughout the county. The new Emergency Department will help us respond to meet the community’s needs.”

The new emergency department has 18 private, emergency care rooms, including two critical care trauma rooms. It will provide 24-hour emergency medical services, including digital radiology and medical imaging. It also includes a dedicated gathering room for families experiencing a difficult time.

McDonald’s to add thousands of jobs

McDonald’s and its independent franchisees are expected to hire approximately 250,000 people this summer across the country, including 1,754 in New Mexico.

To aid in hiring efforts, McDonald’s is allowing job seekers to begin the application process for a job at a restaurant through Snapchat.

More than half of the employees at McDonald’s-owned restaurants are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Auditor finds high proportion of out-of-state food contracts

State Auditor Tim Keller has released a report on state and local government food contracts, which finds that the food industry has a high proportion of out-of-state contracting compared to other industries.

State and local agencies such as school districts and correctional facilities had more than $132 million in large food contracts in the past two years. Only 12 percent of those dollars went directly to New Mexico-based vendors.

“When governments purchase from New Mexico businesses, money flows directly into the local economy, helping to build tax revenue, create jobs, and invest in the community,” Keller said.

“Our report found some very sensible ways to support the local economy by working to shift more spending to in-state companies,” he added. “Even just purchasing coffee and baked goods locally would create 100 permanent jobs, more than the Facebook plant.”

IRS warns of new phone-call scam

The Internal Revenue Service has warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer.

“This is a new twist to an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”