Section: Business,  Page: E1

Date: Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shareholders at TrustCo Bank Corp NY have been grumbling loudly about the bank's falling stock price, but at least one analyst says the Glenville company might be one of the smartest investments going.

Michael Faye, an accountant with Standard & Poor's Equity Research, says in a BusinessWeek article that it's a very good sign if a company's insiders -- its directors and officers -- are buying its shares, because nobody knows the firm's financial situation better than they do. Likewise, it's a positive if big institutions such as mutual and pension funds are invested in a company, the magazine says, because they have access to high-level research that eludes the typical investor.

By those measures, TrustCo's stock is among the five best available.

Indeed, Barclays Global Investors, the largest corporate money manager in the world, is the largest investor in TrustCo, owning nearly $49 million worth of company stock. Franklin Advisors and Vanguard Group, both large mutual funds, are the second- and third-largest TrustCo investors, respectively.

The other ``smart money'' stocks listed by Faye are American Capital Strategies (ACAS), Enterprise Products Partners (EDP), Freeport McMoran Copper (FCX) and M&F Worldwide (MFW).

Hot new product

You've used hot pepper to fend off muggers. Now use it to clear your sinuses.

That's the idea of SiCap Industries LLC, an Albany-based business that manufactures Sinus Buster Capsaicin and some other nostril-themed products. The company, now in its fourth year, just got Sinus Buster listed on CVS' national Web site. It's not yet available at CVS' actual stores, but Price Chopper, Hannaford and some independent stores stock it.

Capsaicin is the natural chemical that puts the "hot" into hot peppers. The spray maker says the pepper helps relieve stuffy nose, allergies and other sinus aggravators.

"The No. 1 question is `Does it burn?' " said Scott Latella, national sales manager for SiCap. "It does have a little kick to it, but it's not a heat blast."

The product sells for around $15. Tissues are not included.

< An earlier Albank

The Albank name disappeared from the Capital Region after Charter One Financial Inc. of Cleveland acquired Albank Financial Corp. nine years ago. Albank, which was founded in 1820 as Albany Savings Bank, grew through acquisitions before being acquired in November 1998.

But it turns out that Albany Savings wasn't the first Albank. The Buzz noticed an Albany branch in the Chicago suburb of Skokie during a recent visit.

Back in the late 1970s, Albany Bank & Trust Co., headquartered on Chicago's northwest side, switched its name to Albank, a spokesman told us. That's about two decades before Albany Savings decided to call itself Albank.

In Chicago, the bank derives its name from the Albany Park neighborhood in which it is based. With four branches and $515 million in assets, it is smaller than Albank Financial, which had $4.1 billion in assets and 109 branches when it was acquired in 1998.

The smaller Albank also is much younger. It was founded in 1953.

Charter One, meanwhile, was acquired by Providence, R.I.-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. in 2004. Citizens is a unit of Royal Bank of Scotland.

< Unconference on tap

There is band camp and then there is BarCamp, which we don't exactly understand except that it sounds like a new trend of collaboration in the technology world in which people organize free-form workshops known as unconferences.

According to Wikipedia, the first BarCamp was held two years ago in Silicon Valley, but now one is being organized - or unorganized - in the Capital Region.

It's called BarCamp Tech Valley, and it will take place starting at 10 a.m. June 23 at the Edison Exploratorium in downtown Schenectady.

A poster announcing what is being called an intense event says there will be discussions, demos and interaction from participants.

Although it's free, don't forget to sign up at Line is overdrawn

The Buzz is written by the business news staff. Contributors this week were Eric Anderson, Chris Churchill, Larry Rulison and Alan Wechsler.