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Jan. 18, 2013 at 6:01 PM
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HSBC to pay $249M for foreclosure abuse

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A $249 million settlement in principle has been reached with HSBC for its use of so-called foreclosure mills, two U.S. regulators announced Friday.

The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said HSBC would be subject to "enforcement actions for deficient practices in mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing," MarketWatch.com reported.

The settlement includes $96 million in cash payments to borrowers, some of whom ended up in foreclosure. HSBC also agreed to provide another $153 million in other assistance to homeowners, such as modifications on their mortgages.

The settlement with HSBC follows similar settlements with a dozen other large financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

Foreclosure abuses were discovered as banks tried to process the mountain of foreclosures that arose during the recent recession. Many banks hired "foreclosure mills" that went through the foreclosure process so quickly, they were accused of denying homeowners of due process entitled by law.

Among other things, the firms were accused of signing documents the signatories hadn't read and using fake signatures.

Honda to recall 750,000 vehicles

TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. said it is preparing to recall 750,000 Pilot and Odyssey vehicles due to problems with the driver's side air bag.

The automaker is recalling 2009-2013 model year Pilot and 2011-2013 Odyssey vehicles, The Detroit News reported Friday.

The problem involves air bags that were installed without all of the rivets that hold the plastic cover in place, the newspaper said.

The air bags with missing rivets may not work properly, the company said.

Honda said it would begin to notify owners of the recalled cars in February.

Treasury Dept. selling more GM stock

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday it will begin selling its 300.1 million remaining shares of General Motors Co. common stock.

Under a prearranged trading plan, the department said in a release it expects to shed its remaining GM investment within the next 12 to 15 months, depending on market conditions.

In December, Treasury officials and GM completed the auto manufacturer's repurchase of 200 million shares of common stock.

The Treasury Department's sale of its GM common stock is part of its effort to wind down the Troubled Asset Relief Program. To date, the department has recovered $387 billion, or nearly 93 percent, of the funds disbursed through TARP.

Stocks close Friday session mixed

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Friday in New York as concern of the next phase of budget talks in Washington distracted Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 53.68 points, 0.39 percent, to advance to 13,649.70 in late afternoon trading. The Nasdaq composite index lost 1.30 points or 0.04 percent, to slip to 3,134.71. The Standard and Poor's 500 picked up 5.40 points or 0.34 percent to 1,485.98.

House Republicans said they may back a short-term debt-ceiling increase that would force lawmakers and the White House to face the current debt-ceiling crisis in two months, when it also faces $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts that were delayed until March 1 in a "fiscal cliff" compromise.

In addition, a temporary joint congressional resolution that keeps the federal government operational expires March 27.

On the New York Stock exchange, the total volume of shares was 3.79 billion shares with advancers ahead of decliners 1,115 to 1,490.

The 10-year treasury note yielded 1.842 percent.

Against the dollar, the euro was $1.3315 from Thursday's $1.3328. The dollar gained against the yen, hitting 90.08 yen from 89.87 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 2.86 percent, 303.66 points, to 10,913.30.

In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.36 percent, 22.05 points, to 6,154.41.

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