Business Stories of the Week: Aug. 18

by August 18, 2017

There are red flags the auto-loan market is on the brink of a crisis, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday. The news outlet reported there's a section of the auto-loan market --- dubbed "deep subprime" within the industry that has ticked up to levels last seen in 2007, according to data from the credit reporting service Equifax. "Car" photo via Pexels.

There are red flags the auto-loan market is on the brink of a crisis, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday. (“Car” photo via Pexels.)

America’s top C.E.O.s revolt

The New York Times reported the blow-by-blow as some of the nation’s top CEOs confabbed about their commitment to advise President Trump. This in the wake of Trump’s blaming of “many sides” in last weekend’s Charlottesville, Virginia, violence. Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo., was among the first execs to express concern. She was soon joined by by Mary T. Barra, the head of General Motors, Virginia M. Rometty, the chief of IBM, and Rich Lesser, the chief executive of Boston Consulting Group. Executives from Merck, Intel and Under Armour also resigned from a manufacturing council over the president’s failure to condemn white supremacists.  By Wednesday morning, both groups were disbanded by the president after he “caught wind of their planned defection,” according to New York Times.

Subprime car loans look dicey

There are red flags that the auto-loan market is on the brink of a crisis, reported Bloomberg on Wednesday. The news outlet said there’s a section of the auto-loan market—dubbed “deep subprime”—that has ticked up to levels last seen in 2007, according to data from the credit reporting service Equifax. While analysts have been warning the subprime auto-market poses a threat to lenders for years, last quarter’s data began to show the least creditworthy borrowers are missing payments. According to analysts, the issue is loosened underwriting requirements for subprime car loans, rather than a rise in customers with worsening credit scores.

Banks agree to pay over bond rigging

German lender Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of America Corp. agreed to pay a combined $65.5 million to settle investor litigation that alleged the banks rigged the government bond market for over a decade, court papers show. Reuters reported on Thursday preliminary settlements totaled $48.5 million for Deutsche Bank and $17 million for Bank of America. Both banks said they had not rigged the government bond market. The settlements were the first in lawsuits that accused 10 banks on conspiring to corner the market for U.S. dollar-denominational supranational, sub-sovereign and agency bonds, according to court papers. Both banks declined to speak to Reuters.

A reporter catalogs the Sears tragedy

On Monday, the New York Times’ Julie Creswell dug into the rise and fall of Sears, Roebuck and Co. The iconic fall of the once-great department store giant is a window into the upheaval tearing through the retail industry today. In the past few days, the stocks of J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Dillard’s all plummeted after they reported yet another round of quarterly sales declines. But lackluster sales won’t ultimately prove to be Sears’ undoing. The retailer is heavily leveraged and most of its most valuable assets already have been sold off. Sears Holdings, the result of the 2005 merger between Sears and Kmart, tops analysts’ short list of retailers most-likely-to-go-bankrupt.

Americans feel threatened at work

It’s not easy to be an American worker, concluded an in-depth study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported nearly one in five American workers said they faced a hostile or threatening work environment at work, including sexual harassment and bullying. Workers who work directly with customers face even more abuse. Less than half of American workers, or 38 percent, said their jobs offered good prospects for advancement. As workers age, they become less optimistic. That’s led some experts to wonder whether toxic working conditions are keeping Americans out of the labor force.

Financing hate groups gets tough

The white supremacist think tank, the National Policy Institute, has long been able to accept donations online through PayPal and through credit card payments processed by San Francisco startup Stripe, reported The Los Angeles Times on Thursday. The two fund-raising mechanisms accounted for the vast majority of NPI’s support and fundraising. After a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, PayPay shut down NPI’s account this week. On Thursday, it appeared Stripe also had stopped processing credit card payments for the group. Both Visa and Mastercard also say they have cut off groups that they believe have engaged in illegal activity such as inciting violence. Discover has said hate groups will no longer be able to accept its cards, even if they don’t  directly incite violence.