Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

August 12, 2009

Fed approves acquisition of Towson's AmericasBank

Capital Funding Bancorp Inc. in Baltimore said Tuesday its application to acquire AmericasBank Corp. has been approved by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The deal already has the blessing of the boards of both companies and AmericasBank shareholders, Capital Funding said. Details of the cash acquisition were not released. Towson-based AmericasBank, hobbled by losses in its mortgage-lending business, has three branches in Maryland. Capital Funding said that after the deal closes, it plans to infuse more than $34 million into the bank. The company said that AmericasBank customers should not see any major changes to the branches or services after the deal is completed.

- Eileen Ambrose

Amex, Discover to end fees for going over credit limit

NEW YORK - American Express and Discover customers will soon be free of fees for charging over their credit limits. The two companies said separately Tuesday they will soon end the charges that have generated widespread criticism from consumers. The moves come before regulations set to take effect in February limit the way credit card issuers may charge such fees. American Express spokeswoman Desiree Fish said the company began mailing letters to U.S. consumer credit card users last week informing them that as of the October billing cycle, overlimit fees will no longer be assessed. Discover Financial Services will begin notifying customers shortly, spokeswoman Laura Gingess said. She could not provide a date for the policy change.

- Associated Press

Productivity rises as workers' hours cut

WASHINGTON - Productivity surged between April and June, posting the largest gains in almost six years, government data released Tuesday show, as businesses slashed hours faster than output fell. The Labor Department said productivity - output per hour of all individuals - in the business sector increased in the second quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 percent. Rising productivity bodes well for corporate profit margins, analysts said. Analysts disagree on whether increased productivity bodes equally well for the more than 14 million out-of-work Americans.

- Washington Post

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