Marriott jury reports deadlockA federal jury in Baltimore...

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 19, 1994

Marriott jury reports deadlock

A federal jury in Baltimore, which said it was deadlocked on an $18 million securities fraud suit against Marriott Corp., recessed without reaching a decision but will continue today.

After about seven hours of deliberations, the panel told U.S. District Judge Alexander Harvey II that it was unable to reach a verdict. But the judge said the jury hadn't spent enough time considering the evidence.

The jury got the case Monday afternoon, following a three-week trial of allegations by a group of institutional investors who claim they suffered financial damage because Marriott improperly hid plans to split the company in two.

Citicorp, Chemical, Chase profits up

Three of the nation's biggest banks reported major gains in earnings, reflecting fatter fees from consumer-banking services and the partial cleansing of bad real estate loans from their books.

Rebounding commercial real estate values helped Citicorp, Chemical Banking Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp. cure or sell defaulted loans and foreclosed properties more quickly than most analysts had expected.

Thrift regulator faults U.S. policy

The nation's top thrift regulator complained that the government's crackdown on lending discrimination is being conducted in a piecemeal manner and is raising issues that could conflict with existing banking laws.

It is the first time a top regulator in an agency overseen by the Treasury Department has questioned publicly how the government is carrying out the Clinton administration's policy to combat lending bias by banks and other institutions.

Jonathan Fiechter, acting head of the Office of Thrift Supervision, told a meeting of thrift and savings bank executives in Orlando, Fla., that current fair-lending standards "are too ambiguous and unsettled."

He questioned the Justice Department's recent charge that a suburban Washington thrift discriminated against blacks by locating branches only in wealthy, white and mostly suburban areas while ignoring black communities. In contrast to previous fair-lending settlements, the department did not accuse the thrift of rejecting loans in minority areas.

Housing called less affordable

Housing affordability fell steeply in the second quarter, according to an index by the National Association of Home Builders.

Reflecting higher mortgage rates, the national score fell to 60, from 67.5 in the January-March period.

The index measures the percentage of all homes that a family with a median income could purchase. Nationally, the median price of a home was $114,000, meaning that households earning the median income of $39,900 could afford to buy 60 percent of the homes offered for sale nationwide.

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