SC business notebook, April 18

April 17, 2013 

Foreclosure abuse relief checks bounce

Relief checks issued as part of a multibillion-dollar settlement over foreclosure abuses have bounced because of insufficient funds, an unfortunate twist for consumers who have already been caught up in problems over reviews of troubled mortgage loans. Months after brokering a $9.3 billion settlement with the nation’s biggest banks, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced last week that 1.4 million checks would be sent out to struggling homeowners, many of whom have been languishing for two years without assistance. The regulators said Wednesday that the problems had been rectified and that consumers should now be able to cash the checks.

Fed survey points to moderate growth

A strengthening housing recovery and robust auto sales contributed to moderate growth across the United States in late February and March, according to a Federal Reserve survey. All of the Fed’s 12 banking districts grew moderately from January and early February. The survey suggests the economy performed better in March than recent government data on hiring and consumer spending indicated. That could mean the weakness may be temporary.

BofA to pay $500 million in settlement

As soon as Bank of America puts one mortgage-related lawsuit behind it, another always seems to rear its head. The bank announced Wednesday that it would pay $500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit led by pension funds and other investors who say they were misled about mortgage-backed investments they bought from Countrywide, a mortgage lender Bank of America bought in 2008. The bank portrayed the settlement as good news because it resolved the bulk of securities claims related to residential mortgage-backed securities. But financial analysts, in a conference call to discuss first-quarter results, peppered bank executives with questions about another pending settlement. Bank of America is still waiting for court approval for a similar settlement it made with Bank of New York Mellon almost two years ago.

Bank apologizes for website registration lapse

Alabama-based Regions Bank is apologizing to customers for letting its website registration lapse, a problem that’s still affecting online banking for customers. The bank posted a video on its Facebook page with an explanation of the problem, which developed Monday. But some customers were still complaining Wednesday that they couldn’t get into their accounts. The video says Regions failed to renew the domain name registration for its website, Regions.com, which resulted in the pages going blank.

New York Times and The Associated Press contributed.

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