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Credit card charge-off rate climbs again

Wednesday, December 30, 2009; A08

CREDIT

Credit card charge-off rate on the rise again

More U.S. credit card users fell further behind on their payments in November, Moody's Investors Service said. The credit card charge-off rate, as measured by Moody's Credit Card Index, rose to 10.56 percent last month after falling for the two previous months. October's charge-off rate was 10.04 percent.

The charge-off rate measures those credit card account balances written off as uncollectable, as an annualized percentage of total outstanding principal balance. The record-high of 10.76 percent was reached in June.

The delinquency rate also rose, to 6.2 percent in November from 6.1 percent in October. That includes all payments that are 30 to 180 days late but have not yet been written off. This figured peaked at 6.4 percent in March.

-- Associated Press

LEGAL

Outback pays to settle sex bias suit

Outback Steakhouse agreed to pay $19 million to settle a sex-discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of female employees.

The restaurant chain, owned by private-equity investor Bain Capital, admitted no wrongdoing. The company said that settling the suit with money provided by insurance coverage was preferable to further litigation.

Outback, with 950 restaurants worldwide, discriminated against its female workers by denying them equal opportunities to advance, the EEOC alleged.

The company agreed to start an online application system for employees interested in managerial jobs .

-- Bloomberg News

ALSO IN BUSINESS

-- Man pleads guilty to hacking retailers' computers: In one of the largest credit card thefts in U.S. history, Albert Gonzalez of Miami has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud. Prosecutors say he invaded retailer computer systems and stole millions of credit and debit card numbers.

-- Nokia broadens patent claims against Apple: Nokia is broadening its legal fight with Apple, saying its iPhone, iPods and computers all violate its intellectual property rights. Nokia has already sued Apple over patents related to phone calls and Wi-Fi access. Apple has countered with its own lawsuit, saying Nokia has copied aspects of the iPhone.

-- GM may wait to decide Saab's future: General Motors is prepared to wait beyond the end of this week before deciding on the future of the Saab brand as it reviews remaining bids, according to Paul Aakerlund, a board member at the Swedish carmaker.

Also, trying to clear inventory of discontinued brands, General Motors is offering dealers $7,000 for every Pontiac or Saturn vehicle they buy for use in service or daily-rental fleets.

-- Goldman Sachs gets top share of IPO fees: Goldman Sachs Group won $923 million in fees from U.S. initial public offerings this year, while Citigroup fell out of the top five as revenue plummeted more than 50 percent.

-- From wire reports

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