Consumer borrowing up slightly in April

Tuesday, June 8, 2010; A12


Consumer borrowing up slightly in April

Consumer borrowing increased slightly in April, a sign that Americans may have more faith in the economic recovery.

Borrowing rose by $954.8 million in April, the Federal Reserve said Monday. But the government revised away a gain it had originally reported for March. Instead, it reported that credit fell a sharp $5.44 billion during that month.

The April increase, if it stands, would be only the second gain in the past 15 months. Economists are hoping that households will soon borrow more and help sustain the recovery.

Consumer credit also rose in January. Beyond the January and April gains, consumer credit has posted a string of declines that started in February 2009.

-- Associated Press


GM leaders to get $7.5 million in shares

Seven senior executives at General Motors will get stock valued at roughly $7.5 million as part of their pay packages, the company disclosed in regulatory filings Monday.

The executives, including North American President Mark Reuss, Vice Chairman for Product Development Tom Stephens and President of GM Europe Nick Reilly, must wait at least a year to cash in the shares. Some shares require a three-year wait.

The disclosures, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, do not list salary or other compensation for the executives. The company said salaries will be disclosed in later filings.

The U.S. government owns 61 percent of GM because it gave the company roughly $50 billion in aid. GM has repaid $6.7 billion, with the rest converted to stock.

-- Associated Press


-- Greece to count state workers for first time: Greece's cash-strapped government said Monday that it will conduct its first inventory of public-sector workers next month, as it tries to find out exactly how many people it employs before bringing payrolls under one agency.

Greek public workers are currently paid from dozens of disparate accounts. Prime Minister George Papandreou has said there are about 750,000 employees on the state payroll, but officials have been unable to give a more precise number.

The inventory -- being conducted July 12-23 and including local authority workers -- will "give the state a detailed picture of its human resources and allow full control of payments, while allowing effective use of personnel," the interior and finance ministries said in a statement.

"This will vastly improve the efficiency of the Greek public sector [and] allow for a much tighter control of public expenditures," it said.

Stuck in a deep debt crisis, Greece narrowly avoided bankruptcy last month using part of a $131 billion international bailout package from its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund.

In return for the rescue loans, the Greek government agreed to take austerity measures, slashing pensions and civil service pay and raising consumer taxes.

-- Goldman deserves regulatory probe, Bloomberg poll says: Goldman Sachs Group is being "legitimately scrutinized" by regulators who sued the firm for fraud based on conduct that many in the industry consider to be common practice, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history has suffered the worst reputational decline among its largest competitors, according to the global quarterly poll of 1,001 investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers.

Goldman Sachs was sued April 16 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Goldman Sachs has said it did nothing wrong and is fighting the case.

Asked for their opinion of the SEC fraud suit, 61 percent of respondents replied that the firm "is being legitimately scrutinized," while 29 percent answered that the company "is being unfairly vilified." The remainder were undecided.

-- From news services

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