In the vault: Several banks doing business in Baton Rouge are included on a new ranking by research firm SNL Financial of the nation's largest banks. Capital One Financial Corp., which bought Hibernia National Bank in 2005 and is now based in McLean, Va., moved up one slot, as reported by The Times-Picayune. It is now the sixth-largest bank in the country, with $328.6 billion in assets. Gulfport, Miss.-based Hancock Holding Co.—the parent company for Whitney Bank—narrowly missed SNL's top 50 list of banks. As of the end of 2011, Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. remains in the No. 16 slot, with $127.1 billion in assets. JPMorgan Chase & Co. remained the nation's largest bank, with $2.25 trillion in assets. The smallest bank in the ranking is Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. of San Antonio, with $20.3 billion in assets. Hancock, according to its annual report, finished the year with $19.77 billion in assets.
Before the flood: Emails from Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard days show the dropout-turned-Facebook CEO as a young entrepreneur losing patience with a client's delayed payments. "I contracted out my services for money, and even though I seem to continually be providing services, I don't seem to be receiving money from you guys," Zuckerberg wrote on Sunday, January 25, 2004, according to court documents filed on Monday by Facebook's lawyers. The deal, writes Zuckerberg, was for $18,000, plus a side project for $1,500; he was still owed $10,000. Zuckerberg founded Facebook the following month. The client, Paul Ceglia, sued Zuckerberg in 2010, claiming that a contract he signed in 2003 entitled him to a 50% ownership stake in Facebook. If Facebook's upcoming initial public offering goes as expected, that could amount to as much as $50 billion. Facebook's lawyers are seeking to dismiss the suit. They say the contract is a fake. Read the full story for more early Zuckerberg emails here.
The view from below: Home prices fell in January for a fifth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales increases have yet to boost prices. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index released this morning shows that prices dropped in January from December in 16 of 19 cities tracked, and that prices fell in 17 of the 20 cities in January compared to the same month in 2011. The declines partly reflect typical offseason sales. The month-over-month data are not adjusted for seasonal factors. The steepest declines were in San Francisco, Atlanta and Portland, Ore. Prices increased in Miami, Phoenix and Washington. The index does not track Baton Rouge or any other Louisiana metros. Local real estate agents have said prices remain stable, and they expect them to remain so throughout 2012. You can access the full index report here.