WASHINGTON – The governments consumer finance watchdog is investigating deals that transferred billions in premiums paid by mortgage borrowers from mortgage-insurance companies to the lenders.
The deals amounted to kickbacks, because the banks pressured insurers into them in exchange for a share of the banks mortgage-insurance business, according to civil lawsuits filed by borrowers and legal experts.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has served subpoenas to AIG Inc., MGIC Investment Corp. Genworth Financial Inc. and Radian Group Inc., the companies said in public filings this week.
Samsung hatching new mobile device
Samsung Electronics Co., the worlds largest mobile-phone maker, said Friday it plans to show a new mobile device in late August, trying to stay in the consumer spotlight ahead of Apples expected release of the latest iPhone in September.
The move comes as Samsung is ensnarled in a closely watched courtroom fight with Apple Inc. over smartphone and tablet patents. Each side is seeking billions of dollars in compensation or royalty payments.
Analysts said the new device is likely an update of the Galaxy Note, which has a screen bigger than smartphones but smaller than tablet computers and can be used with a stylus pen.
Toyota sales forecast boosted to record high
Toyota raised its sales target for this year to a record 9.76 million vehicles and reported a strong recovery in quarterly profit Friday, underlining its rebound from a disaster-plagued 2011.
Toyota Motor Corp. said April-June profit zoomed to $3.7 billion from a mere $14 million the year before. Its new sales target would represent a 23 percent increase from the 7.95 million vehicles sold in 2011, and is 180,000 vehicles more than Toyotas last forecast in February.
Snack sales light up net income at P&G
Procter & Gamble Co. said Friday that its net income climbed 45 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, boosted by the sale of its snacks division.
Even without the effect of the sale, its earnings beat Wall Street expectations, and the company said it was making progress with its cost-cutting plan and strategy to improve results by focusing on its most profitable categories.
Movie giant Viacom sees 7% earnings slip
Viacom Inc., the owner of Paramount Pictures, MTV and Nickelodeon, on Friday said its net income fell 7 percent in the latest quarter as advertising revenue declined more than expected and its movie releases failed to measure up to last years.
Viacom earned $534 million in the April-to-June quarter. That compares with $574 million in the same period last year.
Farmers markets surge in number
As demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables has increased, so too has the number of urban farmers markets sprouting up across the nation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that the number of direct-sales markets has increased 9.6 percent in the past year, with California and New York leading the way.
After 18 years of steady increases, the number of farmers markets now registered with the USDA is 7,864. In 1994, there were 1,744.