Business

August 22, 2014

Business Notebook

But consumer advocates say relatively few people will be helped relative to the devastation triggered by the mortgage bonds, which fueled the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and threw millions of homes into foreclosure. Only a fraction of homeowners would be eligible for refinancing under the settlement. And the process by which people would qualify and receive aid could drag on for years, with payouts set to be completed as late as 2018.

Local & State

Midlands

Tool plant adding 150-200 jobs in Sumter County

A tool maker will expand its workforce in Sumter County, adding 150 to 200 jobs by the end of next year, doubling its workforce there, the S.C. Department of Commerce said Thursday. Apex Tool Group, which makes more than 30 brands of power and hand tools, will consolidate several of its plants into its Sumter facility. The Sparks, Md.-based company makes tools for vehicle assembly and maintenance and the industrial, aerospace, electronics, construction and do-it-yourself markets under such names as Crescent, Wiss and Xcelite.

Nation & World

BOA settlement offers glint of hope for homeowners

Bank of America’s record $16.65 billion settlement for its role in selling shoddy mortgage bonds – $7 billion of it geared for consumer relief – offers a glint of hope for desperate homeowners. The settlement requires the second-largest U.S. bank to reduce some homeowners’ loan balances, provide new loans to low-income buyers and address areas of neighborhood blight.

But consumer advocates say relatively few people will be helped relative to the devastation triggered by the mortgage bonds, which fueled the worst financial crisis since the 1930s and threw millions of homes into foreclosure. Only a fraction of homeowners would be eligible for refinancing under the settlement. And the process by which people would qualify and receive aid could drag on for years, with payouts set to be completed as late as 2018.

Those who have already lost homes to a foreclosure or a short sale – when a lender accepts less money from a sale than what the borrower owes – wouldn’t likely benefit at all.

Trade group predicts air travel will rise over Labor Day weekend

A trade group for the nation’s big airlines predicts that air travel over the Labor Day weekend will rise 2 percent from the same holiday last year. If correct, the forecast would be more good news for the airlines. Nine leading U.S. carriers earned $3.8 billion in the first half of this year – up from $1.6 billion a year ago – allowing them to pay down debt, reward shareholders and order new planes.

Airlines are making record profits even as more and more flights are late or never take off. In the first half of 2014, U.S. airlines posted their worst on-time rate since 2008 and the highest cancellation rate since 2000, according to government figures.

Census report confirms rich getting richer, poor getting poorer

A report from the Census Bureau is the latest evidence that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer. The study released Thursday divided the U.S. into five groups, from wealthiest to poorest. The median net worth of the richest households rose 11 percent between 2000 and 2011, to $630,754. The next-wealthiest group’s net worth also rose. But because wealth dropped for the majority of Americans, the median household net worth for the country overall declined about 7 percent to $68,828.

The Associated Press contributed.

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