February 6, 2014 in Business

In brief: Consent order against RiverBank lifted

From Staff And Wire Reports

Federal and state banking regulators have lifted a 2011 consent order issued to Spokane-based RiverBank.

The small lender said in a release this week it has reduced the number of troubled loans on its books, bolstered management and increased capital ratios.

RiverBank chief executive Daniel Byrne called the consent order decision a major milestone for the bank, which has assets of $103.5 million.

Banking regulators in 2011 demanded the bank ensure sound banking practices and raise new capital after a troubled loan marred its lending portfolio.

EU antitrust watchdog accepts Google offer

BRUSSELS – The European Union’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday accepted “far-reaching” concessions offered by Google to settle allegations it is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches, bringing the three-year-old case close to an end.

Google would significantly change the ways it displays some search results in Europe in favor of its competitors. But reaching a settlement will spare the company a longer antitrust procedure that could have resulted in fines of up to 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue, or about $5 billion.

EU Antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he’s “strongly convinced” the U.S. company’s proposals – its third attempt to address the competition concerns – are sufficient.

Google’s proposals will now be sent to the 18 original plaintiffs for evaluation before the Commission makes a final decision in the coming months.

Subway removing chemical from bread

NEW YORK – Subway said it’s in the process of removing a chemical from its bread as part of an ongoing effort to improve its recipes.

The announcement comes after a popular food blogger launched a petition this week asking the sandwich chain to stop using the ingredient, called azodicarbonamide. A representative for Subway said the change was underway before the petition was launched.

“The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon,” Subway said in a statement.

Vani Hari, who runs FoodBabe.com, has targeted other food companies including Kraft and Chick-fil-A for the chemicals in their products.

In the latest petition targeting Subway, Hari noted that the azodicarbonamide used in its bread “as a bleaching agent” is also used to make yoga mats and shoe rubber. The petition noted that Subway doesn’t use the ingredient in its breads in Europe, Australia or other parts of the world.

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