Chamber president and self-described city cheerleader Bob Morgan this week gave a candid appraisal of Charlotte's post-boom economy.
Local stockholders suffered from declines in share prices at Bank of America and Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), but the accompanying loss of dividends, Morgan said, has been "absolutely devastating."
"There is a tremendous amount of wealth - here yesterday, gone today - and we, the community, are still dealing with that reset," he says in a SNL Financial report released Tuesday.
"You have a lot of shareholders that are employees, retirees, investors, foundations and trust funds, and nonprofits and for-profits who have invested in these two organizations and the dividends are basically gone as part of the TARP."
The report, entitled "Rattling the Hornet's Nest," lays out in stark terms what Charlotte has working in its favor, and against it.
- Lack of speculative run-up in home prices.
- Favorable demographics.
- A history of well-performing banks.
- Increasing bad loans at Charlotte-based banks and thrifts.
- Decline in local wealth from hits to bank stocks.
- High unemployment.
High office vacancy rate.
In a separate story published the following day, Morgan offered another sober assessment.
Under the headline "This is the bust in the boomtown that banks built," the Washington Post quotes Morgan this way:
"I think there's a new humility to Charlotte," said Bob Morgan, president of the city's Chamber of Commerce. "We didn't worry too much about the things being done in Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco," he said, when banks in those cities were swallowed by Charlotte's giants. "We are now living it ourselves."
- Doug Miller