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Business in brief: WaMu replaces division chief

Tue., July 1, 2008

Washington Mutual Inc., the nation’s largest savings and loan, said Monday it replaced the president of its retail banking division, James Corcoran.

Stephen Rotella, WaMu’s chief operating officer and president, took over Corcoran’s job of overseeing the thrift’s 2,500 or so branches and its online banking operations on an interim basis as of June 27.

Washington Mutual spokeswoman Olivia Riley said in an e-mail that Corcoran left “to pursue other career interests.”

The company said it plans to find a permanent successor.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Wachovia drops disputed mortgage plan

Wachovia Corp. said it will quit offering a mortgage payment option that allows borrowers to pay less each month than the bank charges in interest.

The choice to pay less was one option of Wachovia’s Pick-A-Payment mortgages, which offer customers four payment options each month. Wachovia said it will no longer offer the less-than-full-interest payment option on new home loans.

Critics have said paying less than the amount of interest charged can lead to negative amortization. That means borrowers owe more than the value of their home, increasing the chance of foreclosure.

DETROIT

Chrysler to shut plant, trim shift at another

Chrysler LLC said Monday it will indefinitely close one Missouri plant and cut production at another due to slumping demand for pickup trucks and minivans.

Officials with the Auburn Hills-based automaker said in a conference call that it will shutter the St. Louis South plant, which makes minivans, effective Oct. 31. The St. Louis North plant, which makes full-size pickups, will be cut from two shifts to one effective Sept. 2.

Chrysler said the moves would affect 2,400 jobs. That includes 1,500 at the minivan plant and 900 at the pickup truck plant, which both are in Fenton, a St. Louis suburb.

Washington

Poll finds nine in 10 feeling fuel price pain

Soaring fuel prices are inflicting pain throughout the U.S. Nine in 10 people are expecting the ballooning costs to squeeze them financially over the next half-year, says an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Monday.

Nearly half think their hardship will be serious. To cope, most are driving less, easing off the air conditioning and heating at home, and cutting corners elsewhere. Half are curtailing vacation plans; nearly as many are considering buying cars that burn less gas. U.S. auto companies are closing plants that make pickups and SUVs that people have stopped buying.

From wire reports


 

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