SC business notebook, Feb 26

February 26, 2014 

Bi-Lo gets FTC OK to buy Sweetbay, Harvey’s Reid’s stores

The Federal Trade Commission Tuesday approved a deal for Bi-Lo Holdings to acquire all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harvey’s and Reid’s supermarket chain from Delhazie Group. Under the plan, the Batesburg Reid’s grocery store will become a KJ’s Market IGA after the deal closes May 31, the companies said in a press release. Reid’s stores in Cayce, Orangeburg and Walterboro will close May 31, and a Bi-Lo store in Aiken will close July 12. Other stores throughout Georgia and Florida also will be affected, the companies said.

Bank of America facing new probes of mortgage practices, foreign exchange

Bank of America is facing new probes into its mortgage practices as well as its foreign exchange business. The bank, which has already paid out billions of dollars to settle legal claims resulting from the housing and financial crisis, said in a regulatory filing late Tuesday that it was cooperating with government authorities in North America, Europe and Asia. The authorities are investigating a “significant” number of participants in the foreign exchange markets for their conduct over a number of years. Bank of America also said that the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York is conducting an investigation concerning its compliance with the requirements of the Federal Housing Administration’s Direct Endorsement Program and the quality of mortgages it passed along to the government-backed mortgage agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The bank also increased its estimate of possible losses from legal actions against it by $1 billion to $6.1 billion from $5.1 billion for the end of the third quarter.

A third of N.C. hog farms hit by virus that kills all piglets it infects

Nearly a third of the state’s 3,000 large commercial hog farms have been hit by a fast-spreading virus that usually kills every piglet it infects, and many farmers and veterinarians think it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the farms are hit. Like human flu, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus thrives in cold, wet winter months. Recently it has been popping up on North Carolina farms at a rate of nearly 100 a week, according to data kept by the state veterinarian’s office. The numbers may be low, though, since farmers aren’t required to report it. The disease is believed to have originated in China. It first appeared in the United States last spring in Iowa, reached North Carolina in late June and is now found in about two dozen states. So far, no vaccine has been proven effective.

JPMorgan Chase cutting 8,000 jobs

JPMorgan Chase plans to eliminate a total of 8,000 jobs, or 3 percent of its workforce, this year as its mortgage business shrinks and as the giant bank aims to control costs at its branches. About half of those job cuts had already been announced. JPMorgan Chase now plans to cut more jobs as it tries to reduce $2 billion in consumer banking expenses by the end of 2016. The cuts include reductions in the bank’s mortgage and retail banking businesses.

The Associated Press and (Raleigh) News & Observer contributed.

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