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Banks report $26.1B in mortgage relief

  • November 19, 2012 - 8:39 PM

The five largest U.S. mortgage servicers have provided about $26.1 billion for borrowers so far under a $25 billion settlement over abusive foreclosure practices, according to a court-appointed monitor. The aid included $2.6 billion in principal relief for about 22,000 borrowers, the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight said in a report released Monday. Lenders including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. helped a total of 309,385 borrowers, for an average of roughly $84,385 per borrower, according to the report. Aid has taken various forms, from lowering loan balances to helping homeowners refinance.

Ford to roll out smallest engine in 2014 Fiesta

Ford is bringing its smallest engine to the United States in the race to meet stricter government fuel economy rules. The company says the 2014 Fiesta will be the first North American vehicle to get Ford's new 1-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine when it goes on sale next year. The 1-liter has been sold in the European version of the Focus sedan since March. Ford isn't releasing fuel economy numbers yet, but says the 1-liter Fiesta will be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid available in the United States. It should get well over 40 miles per gallon.

Disney to close online movie service

The Walt Disney Co. is shutting down its Web movie service, Disney Movies Online, saying the site wasn't keeping up with user demands. In an e-mail to users, the company said the site would be closed as of Dec. 31. The site allowed visitors to buy and rent movies from the Disney library, including films made by its subsidiary Pixar. "We made a business decision to close the service until we are able to provide the greatest value and experience to our customers," a Disney spokesperson said in a statement. Disney did not say when its expected replacement service, Disney Movies Anywhere, would be launched.

Low Mississippi levels may hurt barge traffic

Water levels on the Mississippi River may drop to historic lows next month, delaying barges carrying loads from grains and coal to steel and petroleum, after the worst U.S. drought in 56 years. The waterway may be too shallow to navigate by Dec. 10 from St. Louis south about 180 miles to Cairo, Ill., where the Mississippi meets the Ohio River, the American Waterways Operators and Waterways Council Inc. said in a statement Friday. Barges on the Mississippi handle about 60 percent of grain exports that enter the Gulf of Mexico through New Orleans.

Wal-Mart goes to NLRB to stop protests

In a rare move, Wal-Mart is trying to stop a union-backed group from staging a series of demonstrations against the company on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer and retailer, has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board -- its first in a decade -- seeking to prevent a group known as OUR Walmart from holding what the group says will be the biggest protests of its kind against the company at hundreds of stores. OUR Walmart said that last month, 88 workers went on strike at 28 stores in 12 states.

Nintendo putting Wii U console on shelves

Nintendo began selling the Wii U console amid tight supplies and delays in implementing a new TV-viewing service. The first new video-game console for U.S. homes since 2006, the Wii U initially won't offer the Nintendo TVii service that the Japanese company has touted as a centerpiece of its capabilities. The feature will be available sometime in December, the company said Friday, without being specific. "Nintendo will be enhancing the Wii U experience with continuous updates and new services for Wii U owners," Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo's North America president, said in a statement.

British official speaks against eurozone exit

The leader of Britain's biggest business lobby issued a stark warning Monday about the growing risk that the country will leave the European Union and urged British business executives who favor staying in the bloc to speak out in response to skeptics of further European integration. Emphasizing that Europe remained the market for half of all British exports, Roger Carr, president of the Confederation of British Industry, said at the group's annual conference in London: "Whatever the popular appeal may be of withdrawal, businessmen and politicians must keep a bridge firmly in place. As countries of Europe bind together in pursuit of salvation, we in the U.K. must work harder to avoid the risks of isolation."

Americans' credit card debt rose in 3Q

Americans cranked up their use of credit cards in the third quarter, racking up more debt than a year ago, an analysis of consumer-credit data shows. The average credit card debt per borrower in the United States grew 4.9 percent in the July-to-September period from a year earlier to $4,996, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Monday. At the same time, the rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue hit 0.75 percent, up from 0.71 percent in the third quarter of last year, TransUnion said.

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