- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FDIC

Regulators can recover pay of failed-bank execs

Federal regulators will be able to take back two years of pay from executives held responsible for a large bank’s failure.

Executives deemed “negligent” and “substantially responsible” for a big bank’s failure can lose all of their compensation from the previous two years under a rule approved Wednesday by the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Banks objected to an earlier version of the rule, saying it would induce key executives to depart at the first sign of trouble rather than risking their compensation.

Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh, who sits on the FDIC board and shared banks’ concerns, said he approves of the new standard.

The rule is part of the financial overhaul that Congress passed last summer. One section of the law creates an orderly way to shut down large, failing banks in order to prevent a crisis from spreading. The process aims to eliminate the category of banks deemed “too big to fail” because their collapse could endanger the broader financial system.

Under the new rules, a teetering financial company can be taken over by the government, broken apart, and sold off.

The FDIC is deciding how the proceeds of those sales should be divided among companies and people who are owed money by the failed bank.

TECHNOLOGY

Facebook launches video chat via Skype

PALO ALTO, Calif.Facebook will integrate free Skype video chat into its service as it looks to solidify its role as a communications hub and drive back Google Inc.’s foray into online social networking.

The agreement, announced Wednesday by Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, deepens the company’s cooperation with Microsoft Corp., which is buying Skype to increase Web presence.

Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook has logged a record 750 million users. The new service, which began Wednesday, could be a huge boost for Skype, which currently has about 145 million regular users.

The service, initially limited to one-to-one video chat, will be free. Financial details of the deal, if any, were not disclosed.

AUTO

Industry bounces back, goes on hiring spree

DETROIT — Volkswagen opened a plant in Tennessee last month with 2,000 workers. Honda is hiring 1,000 in Indiana to meet demand for its best-selling Civic. General Motors is looking for 2,500 in Detroit to build the Chevy Volt.

Two years after the end of the Great Recession, the auto industry is hiring again — and much faster than the rest of the economy. As an employer, it’s growing faster than airplane manufacturers, shipbuilders, health care providers and the federal government.

The hiring pace is even more remarkable because memories of the U.S. auto industry’s near-death experience are fresh. In 2009, General Motors and Chrysler both got government bailouts and entered bankruptcy, and auto sales reached a 30-year low.

In June of that year, about 623,000 people were employed by the auto industry in the United States, the fewest since the early 1980s. Now the figure is almost 700,000, a 12 percent increase.

Sales are back up, too, and automakers are hiring by the thousands to meet increased demand.

From wire dispatches and staff reports