Altered tomato approvedA genetically altered tomato that's...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 17, 1992

Altered tomato approved

A genetically altered tomato that's supposed to have that summertime, farm-stand taste moved closer to grocery store shelves yesterday when the Agriculture Department said it would no longer regulate the "Flavr Savr" tomato. "Flavr Savr" is the trademark for a tomato developed by Calgene Inc., of Davis, Calif. It resists spoilage and can be picked and shipped at a tasty, red-ripe stage. The company expects to market the tomato commercially by late next summer.

The Food and Drug Administration, however, must declare "Flavr Savr" a food before Calgene can begin marketing the tomato to consumers. Company officials say the tomato is the first biotechnology plant product approved by USDA for commercial food production.

Silverado owner pleads guilty

The majority owner of the Silverado savings and loan, W. James Metz, 67, pleaded guilty in Denver yesterday to a felony charge of misapplying nearly $100,000 in the failed thrift's funds in 1986. Federal regulators estimate that Silverado's 1988 failure will cost taxpayers $1 billion. A grand jury will hear evidence about the involvement of President Bush's son Neil with the thrift, a prosecutor said.

PaineWebber subsidiary fined

A mortgage subsidiary of PaineWebber Group Inc. agreed yesterday to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to settle government charges that it failed to adequately maintain records on its mortgage applicants. Federal law requires lenders to maintain such records to assist law enforcement officials in determining if lenders are discriminating against loan applicants.

PaineWebber Mortgage Finance Corp. Inc., based in Columbia, allegedly failed to maintain the records for the 25 months required by the law, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint. Without admitting or denying guilt, PaineWebber agreed to pay the fine and promised not to violate the recordkeeping requirements in the future, the agency said.

Universal Bank closed down

The Maryland Bank Commissioner closed the Universal Bank yesterday, a Lanham institution with $22.1 million in assets and deposits of $20.5 million in 1,500 accounts. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was named the bank's receiver, has agreed to pay off insured depositors because no bids for the failed bank met the FDIC's criteria. The FDIC also agreed to pay 56 percent of the value owed unsecured creditors, including uninsured depositors who hold $751,000 in 27 accounts that exceed the $100,000 federal deposit insurance limit.

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