- - Thursday, September 15, 2011


Credit card defaults, late payments slide

NEW YORK — Credit card issuers had a somewhat bumpy summer, but most of the top banks are reporting that their customers continued to make payments on time.

Default rates are down at three of the four companies reporting their August results. Only Capital One Financial Corp. says it saw an uptick in the rate it wrote off balances as uncollectible.

Capital One also had a slight increase in the rate of payments late by 30 days or more, considered an indicator of future default.

Discover Financial Services, American Express and Chase say their rates continued to decline. Bank of America and Citibank were expected to report August results later Thursday.

The results were similar in July.

Analysts expect the rates to remain low, although individual banks might see blips along the way.


Morgan Stanley chairman to retire at end of 2011

NEW YORK — Morgan Stanley’s chairman John Mack will step down as chairman and leave the board of directors at the end of 2011.

The widely expected move brings an end to a storied Wall Street career for Mr. Mack. The North Carolina native was CEO of Morgan Stanley from 2005 to 2009.

Current CEO James Gorman will take over the chairman’s role.

Mr. Mack is largely credited with saving the investment bank during the financial crisis by negotiating a $9 billion investment from the Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. However, Mr. Mack was criticized for the firm’s poor performance during and after the crisis before handing over the CEO spot to Mr. Gorman in 2010.

Morgan Stanley stock jumped 6 percent to $16.42 as of 2 p.m.


Judge: Union held in contempt for raid

TACOMA — A federal judge found a union in contempt of court Thursday, a week after police said hundreds of its members raided a grain terminal in southwestern Washington, smashed windows and menaced security guards.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said he wants the operator of the Longview grain terminal, EGT, to provide him an accounting of the damage for purposes of gauging how much he should fine the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Locals 4 and 21.

Judge Leighton had issued a temporary restraining order before last week’s actions, demanding that the union not block entrances to the grain terminal. But the union’s members, upset that EGT has hired a contractor staffed with workers from a different union, repeatedly blocked a train carrying a grain shipment there, then stormed the terminal and dumped some of the grain.


Souper Salad, Grandy’s eateries in bankruptcy

DOVER — The company that owns the Souper Salad and Grandy’s restaurant chains has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

SSI Group Holding Corp. said it has tried to cut costs, including closing underperforming restaurants, but was unable to overcome cash flow problems or obtain working capital in what it said was a difficult economic environment for the restaurant industry

SSI’s secured lenders declared a default in June, and the company said its restaurant closings have resulted in lawsuits being threatened or filed.

As of January, the Texas company had 146 restaurants in 14 states.

SSI Group listed assets of about $24 million, and liabilities of about $47 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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