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Sat., July 30, 2011

AmericanWest wraps up purchase of two banks

Spokane-based AmericanWest Bank has concluded the purchase of Bank of the Northwest and Sunrise Bank.

The two acquisitions, arranged in separate deals, closed this week.

Bank of the Northwest has branches in Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue and Issaquah in Washington.

Sunrise Bank has branches in Palm Desert, Point Loma, San Diego and Escondido in California.

The deals lift total assets for AmericanWest to $2 billion, the company said in a news release. The Sunrise Bank purchase was signed in June and the Bank of the Northwest purchase was announced in May.

Tom Sowa

Bank of America hit with Countrywide lawsuit

NEW YORK – Bank of America Corp. is facing a new lawsuit filed by a group of shareholders of mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp., which the bank bought in 2008.

The group of investors, which includes BlackRock funds, T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and several pension funds including the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and TIAA-CREF, had rejected a $624 million settlement last year, saying the terms were inadequate. The lawsuit accused Countrywide of misleading shareholders about its finances and lending practices.

Blair Nicholas, a partner at the law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, representing the investors, said they will present their claims before a jury. Bank of America spokesman Lawrence Grayson said: “We intend to vigorously defend these claims.”

Associated Press

AT&T to limit data speed for smartphone users

NEW YORK – AT&T Inc. said Friday that it’s going to start limiting speeds for the 5 percent of its customers with “unlimited” data smartphone plans who clog the airwaves the most.

The measure will take effect Oct. 1, AT&T said, and is intended to alleviate congestion on the network.

T-Mobile USA already throttles users who go over certain limits for data consumption.

AT&T stopped signing up new customers for “unlimited” plans last year. Instead, it lets heavy users pay extra when they go over a certain data allotment.

Verizon Wireless also recently stopped signing up new customers for unlimited service.

Associated Press

Chevron posts largest profit since 2008

NEW YORK – Chevron Corp. said Friday that profit jumped 43 percent in the second quarter as higher oil and gasoline prices made up for a decline in oil production.

The San Ramon, Calif., oil company reported earnings of $7.7 billion, or $3.85 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $5.4 billion, or $2.70 per share, in the year-ago period. Revenue increased 31 percent to $66.7 billion.

Chevron’s quarterly profit was the largest since it set a company record of $7.9 billion in the third quarter of 2008.

Associated Press


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