The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is releasing Thursday much anticipated new mortgage rules, which will restrict the kind of subprime lending practices that caused both the financial and housing sectors to crash five years ago.
The new rules come at a time when regulators and banks are trying to find a middle ground between overly lax and overly tight lending standards.
Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 3:34 pm
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis is resigning, opening up one more slot in President Obama's second-term administration. A former member of Congress, Solis was the first Hispanic woman to head a Cabinet-level agency.
Sophisticated hacking attacks on U.S. banks in recent months have distinctive qualities that are leading investigators to believe another nation may be behind the assault. The likely suspect is Iran, which officials believe may be trying to even the score for American hacking of its nuclear program.
At least nine U.S. financial institutions have been hit since September; more attacks are expected. And part of what makes them suspicious is that they seem calculated not to steal account data or money, but instead to disrupt the banking system.
The MaKey MaKey invention kit includes a plan for making a "banana piano," helping the Kickstarter project make it to the site's best-of-2012 list. Kickstarter says 2.2 million people pledged nearly $320 million in 2012.
Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 1:54 pm
Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site that pairs indie-minded inventors and entrepreneurs with online investors, fully funded more than 18,000 projects in 2012, according to its end-of-year analysis. The site says that in total, more than 2.2 million people pledged a total of nearly $320 million. For the year, 17 projects raised more than $1 million.
Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:02 am
Some kids can't get enough of online games where they can pretend to run a candy factory or decorate cakes. But children who play with these games may eat more, and eat more junk food, even if the game features fruit or other healthful choices, according to new research.
You might be feeling a bit hung over from all the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations. But the financial talks in Washington aren't over yet. In the coming months, the White House and Congress will face three major economic challenges. Host Michel Martin breaks down what you need to know for the next round of fiscal talks.
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 4:46 am
Update: At 6 a.m. ET. Jan. 10, White House Announcement:
The White House has officially confirmed that President Obama will nominate his chief of staff, Jacob "Jack" Lew, to be the next Treasury secretary. According to a statement, the announcement is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET today (Thursday).
Target says it will match the online prices of Amazon.com and others. Target knows that increasingly consumers are using mobile devices to check prices online as they cruise the aisles. And if the price is better somewhere else, that's where they'll buy it.
The Consumer Electronics Show opened this week in Las Vegas. It's supposed to give the world a glimpse of what's coming next in technology. But the absence of major consumer-technology companies such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, has led some to wonder whether CES still matters.
Insurance company AIG holds a board meeting Wednesday to consider joining former CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's lawsuit against the government over its handling of the AIG bailout in 2008. For more on the suit, Steve Inskeep talks to business reporter Michael de la Merced of The New York Times.
Alcoa, the biggest aluminum producer in the U.S., has announced it posted a profit of more than $240 million in the last three months of 2012. That's a big improvement from the same quarter the year before when it lost $190 million.
A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet aircraft is surrounded by emergency vehicles while parked at a Terminal E gate at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday. A small electrical fire filled the cabin of the JAL aircraft with smoke about 15 minutes after it landed in Boston.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 3:44 pm
A fuel leak Tuesday on a Tokyo-bound Japan Airlines flight forced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to cancel takeoff and return to the gate at Boston's Logan International Airport. It was the second incident involving a Dreamliner in two days.
Here's how Logan airport described the incident on its Facebook page:
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 1:24 pm
In the European Union, unemployment rates in the region that uses the euro currency are at their highest ever, as a returned recession, falling income levels and persistent debt concerns trouble the region's economy, as its latest statistics show.
After nearly five years of economic crises, the European Union is also seeing more divergence between its member nations, particularly in the north, where economies have resilience, as opposed to the south, where unemployment rates are an average of more than 7 points higher.
A man enters a UBS bank in Hong Kong last month. The Swiss banking giant agreed in 2009 to identify the names of its U.S. account holders, part of a push by banking regulators to make it harder to hide income.
Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 5:43 am
Time was that a Swiss bank account was synonymous with confidentiality and keeping assets from prying eyes. No more.
Last week, Switzerland's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., pleaded guilty in a New York court to helping Americans hide $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service over a decade-long period. Wegelin's plea, and a $57.8 million fine, forced the bank to shut its doors. It follows a $780 million settlement with UBS in 2009 that forced the Swiss banking giant to identify the names of its U.S. account holders.
In Australia, McDonald's is nicknamed Macca. Executives of the burger chain are allowing some McDonald's restaurants there to change their signs to read "Macca's." But the change is only temporary, in honor of Australia Day later this month.
Kodak cameras and related products will be back in the marketplace this year, but they won't be made my Kodak. The photo pioneer stopped making digital cameras about a year ago. Now it is licensing its name to another camera maker.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 4:51 am
Federal officials along with investigators from Boeing are trying to determine what caused a fire to break out on a new 787 jet parked at the Boston airport Monday. The fire, in an auxiliary power unit, is just the latest in a string of electrical systems problems on Boeing's flagship airplane.
Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."
Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
Samsung Electronics announced profits of more than $8 billion for the final quarter of 2012. Samsung's Japanese competitor Sony unveiled a water resistant smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground off Alaska last week is now anchored in a quiet harbor so divers can assess the damage. Wildlife officials say they have seen no evidence of a spill from the vessel, which was carrying tanks of diesel fuel. But the accident does raise questions about Shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and fragile ecosystem of the Arctic.
Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (left) arrives at Pyongyang International Airport on Monday. There is speculation that Schmidt's presence in North Korea could have an upside for Google by positioning Schmidt as the company's global ambassador.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:39 pm
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has landed in North Korea. His trip there is a bit of a mystery.
Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has been a vocal proponent of providing people around the world with Internet access and technology. North Korea doesn't even let its citizens access the open Internet, and its population is overwhelmingly poor — so it's not exactly a coveted audience for advertisers.
What's the coolest new gadget at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week? It's too soon to tell. But I have an early favorite for the title of oddest new gadget: the HAPIfork and HAPIspoon. They may sound like characters from a nursery rhyme, but this fork and spoon connect to the Internet and can monitor and record how you eat.
The HAPI utensils measure how long your meals last, how long you pause between each bite and how many mouthfuls of food you consume.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 3:52 pm
It's become an annual tradition: bidding up an outrageous price for a Pacific bluefin tuna during the first auction of the new year at Toyko's Tsukiji fish market.
And on Saturday, a bluefin tuna big enough to serve up about 10,000 pieces of sushi fetched a mind-boggling price: $1.76 million. That's about three times as much as last year's tuna and equates to about $3,600 per pound for the 489-pound fish.
Bank of America and Fannie Mae have agreed to settle legal issues stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. The bank will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion in cash and will also spend $6.7 billion to repurchase certain mortgages sold to Fannie Mae.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:59 pm
We don't hear much about bank liquidity, partly because it sounds so dull. It's much more fun to talk about prop trading (fear the London Whale!) or structured finance (synthetic CDOs are crazy!).
But if you're trying to figure out how safe banks are — and how willing they'll be to make loans to ordinary people — liquidity is at least as important as other, more-dramatic-sounding corners of finance.
So the new liquidity rules global banking regulators released yesterday are a big deal for the real economy.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 4:26 pm
Ten of the nation's major mortgage servicing companies, including household names such as Bank of America and Citibank, have agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims that they abused some homeowners when they foreclosed on mortgages during the recent housing crisis, the Federal Reserve and the Comptroller of the Currency announced late Monday morning.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 7:43 am
Bank of America announced this morning that it will pay the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) $3.6 billion in cash and will buy back $6.75 billion worth of mortgages to resolve claims related to mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie Mae by the bank and Countrywide Financial Corp. (which BofA acquired in 2008.