U.S. economy grew 4% in 1994The economy closed out 1994...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 02, 1995

U.S. economy grew 4% in 1994

The economy closed out 1994 with a bigger head of steam than previously estimated, suggesting it may take longer for higher interest rates to moderate the momentum.

The Commerce Department said yesterday that the economy expanded at a 4.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter last year, propelling 1994 to a growth rate of 4.0 percent, the strongest showing since 1984. The quarterly advance in gross domestic product was slightly more robust than the earlier estimate of 4.5 percent.

First Fidelity housing program

First Fidelity Bank is expected to announce tomorrow a $40 million community investment and lending program it has reached with the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Investment, an umbrella group of community organizations. The program includes $20 million in mortgage and home improvement loans, mostly to low- and moderate-income people; and $20 million in loans to nonprofit organizations to develop affordable housing.

Prudential puts loss at $1.2 billion

Prudential Insurance Corp. of America said yesterday that it lost $1.2 billion in 1994, as earthquakes, floods, rising interest rates and scandals all chipped away at the earnings of the biggest U.S. insurer.

Prudential, a mutual company that does not report results in terms of overall net income, said its net worth declined during 1994 to $9.5 billion, down from $10.7 billion at the end of 1993.

Penril shows $1.1 million loss

Penril DataComm Networks Inc., a Gaithersburg maker of data communications equipment, lost $1.1 million, or 15 cents a share, on revenues of $15.3 million during its second fiscal quarter that ended Jan. 31. This compares with a profit of $624,000, or 8 cents a share, on sales of $18.8 million for the same period a year ago.

Naden to direct MPT division

Andy Naden, an independent television producer, has been named acting director of Maryland Public Television's National/International Production division. In that position, Mr. Naden will oversee the annual production of more than 250 hours of programming for public and commercial TV.

Standard Federal portfolio sold

First Nationwide Mortgage Corp. of San Francisco bought the mortgage banking and servicing businesses of the defunct Standard Federal Savings Association from the Resolution Trust Corp. for $176.7 million, the RTC said. The sale includes an $11.8 billion portfolio of mortgages Standard Federal serviced, as well as the company's plant in Frederick and another in Great Falls, Mont.

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