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Jeff Harrington, Times Staff Writer

Jeff Harrington

Jeff Harrington has been an editor and reporter at the Tampa Bay Times since 1998, primarily working in Business news. He currently covers the economy, banking and insurance among other areas.

A native Ohioan, Jeff graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a dual major in American Studies and French. He worked at the City News Bureau of Chicago, Toledo Blade and Cincinnati Enquirer before winding his way down Interstate 75 to the Tampa Bay area.

He has received numerous awards for business and metro writing, including recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and the Associated Press, among others. He was a past finalist and a winner of a Gerald Loeb award honoring the best business writing in the country and his work has been included in the Best Business Stories of the Year series.

Phone: (727) 893-8242

Email: harrington@tampabay.com

Twitter: @JeffMHarrington

  1. Florida consumers turn sharply more optimistic in July

    Personal Finance

    Who is worrying about Brexit? Or turmoil over the presidential election? Or predictions that the prolonged economic recovery may soon fizzle into a recession?

    A survey released Friday by the University of Florida indicates such concerns have lessened in Florida, with consumer confidence rising sharply in July to the second-highest level over the past year.

    The new reading of 93.7, which reverses three months of declines, is up four points from June. ...

    Beyonce performs during the Formation World Tour at Raymond James Stadium on Friday, April 29, 2016, in Tampa, Florida. She practiced for the concert in Tampa and lived in a home in Tampa that is now for sale. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images)
  2. Tampa Bay gas prices falling below $2 a gallon — and then some


    Gas prices typically spike in the summer, and with travel this month pushing record levels, you'd expect more of the same.

    Well, throw that trend out the car window.

    Early Thursday morning, average unleaded gas prices in the bay area slipped below the symbolic $2 a gallon threshold to hit $1.997 — with anticipation of falling even further in coming weeks, according to market tracker GasBuddy....

    Average gas prices in the Tampa Bay area fell to $1.997 a gallon Thursday, according to market tracker GasBuddy, the lowest summer price in 11 years. Some analysts predict prices could fall to $1.75, or even $1.60, by the end of the year.
  3. Scam-central Florida leads country in credit card fraud

    Personal Finance

    Florida doesn't have to worry about losing its reputation as a haven for scamsters and fraudsters of all stripes.

    With nearly double the rate of credit card fraud complaints nationwide — and a 130 percent leap in complaints just since 2011 — Florida is retaining its crown as the credit card fraud capital of the country for the second year in a row.

    That dubious distinction comes from a new analysis by consumer research site Value Penguin based on complaints filed to the Federal Trade Commission over the past 10 years....

    Despite the shift to new chip-enabled credit and debit cards to thwart large data breaches, some experts think credit card fraud will increase with a rise in online fraud. [File photo: The New York Times]

  4. EverBank, the largest Florida-based bank by deposits, in 'advanced negotiations' to sell


    Jacksonville-based EverBank Financial Corp., the largest bank based in Florida by deposits, confirmed this morning that it is in advanced negotiations" to sell itself to an undisclosed bidder.

    The prospective buyer is considering paying $19.50 a share along with payments to holders of preferred stock, EverBank said in a statement.

    "There can be no certainty that these negotiations will result in a definitive agreement or that the terms will not vary from those currently under discussion or that the review of EverBank Financial Corp's other strategic alternatives will result in any action," the statement said. "The company does not intend to make any additional comments or statements regarding these matters until such time, if at all, that it has reached a definitive agreement for a transaction."...

  5. Bank of the Ozarks names former C1 executive to run Florida operations


    Bank of the Ozarks, in completing its $402.5 million acquisition of C1 Financial on Thursday, has named an executive vice president with C1 to run its Florida division.

    Alan Randolph will head the Bank of the Ozarks' 44 Florida branches.

    Trevor Burgess, former president and CEO of C1 as well as the founder of the St. Petersburg-based bank, will remain as his new company's chief innovation officer. George Gleason, chairman and CEO of Bank of the Ozarks, said his team has already begun to implement some technology enhancements that were developed at C1....

  6. Florida unemployment stays flat in June amid hiring slowdown

    Economic Development

    Florida's jobs recovery hit a speed bump last month.

    The state's unemployment rate in June stayed at 4.7 percent, unchanged from May, as it added a relatively modest 9,800 jobs over the month, according to figures released Friday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

    The slowdown comes a month after Florida boasted adding 24,500 jobs during May, nearly three times more than any other state....

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott, shown here in Cleveland earlier this week to address the Republican National Convention, came to Tampa Friday morning to comment on the latest unemployment and job creation report.
[Associated Press]
  7. Survey: Tampa Bay residents are really bad at managing their money

    Personal Finance

    With many pushing their available credit to the limit, Tampa Bay residents rank as third worst at managing their money compared to those in other major metros.

    Across the state, Miami isn't faring much better, ranking fourth worst.

    That's according to a new analysis by CreditCards.com that looks at both average credit scores in the 25 largest metros and what their expected credit score would be based on local income, age, unemployment and education data....

    A new analysis involving credit scores concludes that Tampa Bay residents are third worst at managing money compared to those in other big metros.
[File photo: New York Times]
  8. Pioneering former Times business editor Elizabeth Whitney dies


    To the journalism community, Elizabeth Whitney was a pioneer — the first woman business editor of a major U.S. paper and an oft-awarded reporter who always seemed ahead of the curve, from predicting the savings and loan crisis to chronicling the condo boom.

    To friends, family and co-workers at what is now the Tampa Bay Times, Whitney was much more — gracious, devoted, self-sacrificing and stylish....

    Elizabeth Whitney was the first female business editor at a major U.S. newspaper, the then-St. Petersburg Times. She died Tuesday.
  9. Minnesota software firm expands into Tampa, adds 60 jobs

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Sagitec Solutions, a St. Paul, Minn., company that serves clients with pension, provident fund and unemployment software solutions, is expanding into Tampa Bay.

    The company said Monday it plans to create up to 60 jobs here within two years, using the Tampa site to grow its client base in the eastern United States. The positions, with average annual salaries of $60,000, include software support specialists, software engineers, business analysts and human resources professionals....

  10. New Port Richey couple charged with running Clear­water-based investment scam

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa Bay couple has been arrested on charges of organized fraud, grand theft and mortgage fraud tied to the sale of investment offerings in Clearwater.

    The Florida Office of Financial Regulation on Friday announced the charges against Miguel Angel Perez and his wife, Maritza Belinda Perez, accusing the New Port Richey couple of defrauding at least 13 Floridians out of about $500,000.

    According to the OFR, potential investors were allegedly recruited through "free" real estate investment seminars held at various hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area. At the seminars, attendees were offered investments in an assisted living facility. The facility never came into operation, authorities said, and instead the pair allegedly used investor funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of a home in New Port Richey. ...

    Maritza Belinda Perez
[Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  11. As Florida banks get stronger, many customers are still waiting to reap the benefits


    Florida, a financial minefield of failing banks six years ago, is overflowing with healthy, top-rated community banks, including a dozen in Tampa Bay alone.

    Big banks are acing the federal government's stress tests and are poised to start doling out dividends to shareholders again. Loan delinquencies have fallen in tandem with the percentage of borrowers with subprime credit.

    These may not be boom times again, but both community banks and megabanks have rebounded strongly from the Great Recession....

    Banks in Florida have mostly pulled out of the financial malaise of six years ago. Big banks are doing well in federal stress tests.
  12. Florida job growth slows, but June is no swoon


    Florida added 14,600 private-sector jobs in June, a strong drop-off from May but still among the strongest job-growing performances in the country.

    The regional employment report released this morning by payroll processor ADP indicates that a summer slowdown in hiring may not have been that severe in Florida. That prospect was also bolstered by last week's national employment report showing the country added a surprisingly strong 287,000 jobs in June, far exceeding the 180,000 new jobs that economists were anticipating....

  13. Report: Florida job growth slows, but still strong in June

    Economic Development

    Florida added 14,600 private-sector jobs in June, a strong drop-off from May but still among the strongest job-growing performances in the country.

    The regional employment report released this morning by payroll processor ADP indicates that a summer slowdown in hiring may not have been that severe in Florida. That prospect was also bolstered by last week's national employment report showing the country added a surprisingly strong 287,000 jobs in June, far exceeding the 180,000 new jobs that economists were anticipating. ...

  14. Fifth Third Bank adds 757 fee-free ATMs to its Tampa Bay network under deal with Allpoint


    Fifth Third Bank is adding 757 fee-free ATMs in Tampa Bay as it partners with Allpoint, the world's largest surcharge-free ATM network.

    All told, Fifth Third customers will have access to 43,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide under the deal announced Tuesday.

    The expansion is a boost for the Cincinnati-based Fifth Third, which currently has 2,500 ATMs and partners with grocery store chain Publix for another 1,100 locations....

  15. Health insurance firm BeniComp relocates headquarters from Fort Wayne to Tampa


    BeniComp Insurance Co., a supplemental group health insurance company, has relocated its headquarters from Fort Wayne, Ind., to downtown Tampa.

    Initially, nine members of the firm's executive team will move to the new headquarters at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. The company plans to add at least three more full-time employees over the next year.

    BeniComp will also maintain its Fort Wayne offices, where it currently employs 40....

    EDC chief Colleen Chappell touts the relocation.