Business

6:31am

Sat August 18, 2012
Business

Settlement Shines Light On N.Y. Regulator, Agency

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 5:03 pm

Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York state's Department of Financial Services, got British bank Standard Chartered to pay a $340 million settlement over allegations that it schemed with the Iranian government to launder billions of dollars.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Banking industry officials say it's unheard of: A state regulator, flying solo, threatens to take away the state license of a global bank — and then secures a very public settlement.

That's exactly what happened in New York this past week, when the state's Department of Financial Services reached a settlement with Britain's Standard Chartered Bank over allegations that it schemed with the Iranian government to launder billions of dollars.

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12:50pm

Fri August 17, 2012
The Salt

Rwandan Coffee Farmers Turn Premium Beans Into Harvest Gold

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:04 am

Welcome to Rwanda's coffee land, where some of the world's best coffee is grown. Here, Minani Anastase, president of Musasa Coffee Cooperative in northern Rwanda, looks over the coffee drying tables.
Courtesy of Jonathan Kalan

Yesterday on All Things Considered, Allison Aubrey explained how coffee is the new wine — or, at least, how our morning brew is catching up with the evening Chardonnay in terms of our appreciation for its flavor and textures. And that's piquing our interest in learning where our coffee comes from.

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12:11pm

Fri August 17, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

When Does Mom's Blog Become An Ad?

Some mommy bloggers threw parties with Madagascar 3-themed activities for kids. Here's one suggestion from Merck's Children's Claritin Facebook page.
Facebook

Blogging about being a mom is a booming business. And the popularity of these blogs has spawned an industry that turns some of the moms into virtual product reps.

With companies and conferences devoted to connecting moms with industry, regulatory agencies that keep track of truthfulness and transparency in advertising are struggling to keep up.

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10:57am

Fri August 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Insurer Will Pay In Case That Quickly Went Viral

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:20 am

Monday, New York comedian Matt Fisher wrote a very serious blog post headlined "My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court."

It quickly drew considerable attention on the Web, bad publicity for Progresssive Insurance and coverage from national news outlets because he laid out a sad story:

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4:46am

Fri August 17, 2012
Business

Former Georgia Coach Charged In Ponzi Scheme

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:06 am

The Securities and Exchange Commission says former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan used his influence to get high-profile college coaches and former players to invest $80 million into a Ponzi scheme. Donnan has denied the allegations

4:42am

Fri August 17, 2012
Business

The Last Word In Business

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:06 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As in much of the country, it's been a hot summer in the state of Oklahoma, and the heat has forced those without air conditioning to get creative.

Today's last word in business is a Scottish solution.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Mechanics at O'Brien Auto Performance are keeping cool in kilts. From May to October, some employees there don kilts to enjoy a breezier workday.

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2:59am

Fri August 17, 2012
Your Money

Student Loans Can Dent Retirees' Social Security

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:37 pm

Families often pull together to help finance a college education, with parents and grandparents chipping in or co-signing loans. And now, a SmartMoney report finds the U.S. government withholding money from Social Security recipients who've stopped paying on federal student loans.

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2:46am

Fri August 17, 2012
Economy

Low Mortgage Rates Boost 'Serial Refinancers'

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:35 pm

Refinance activity continues to boom, fueling the home-loan market. Low interest rates have created a class of "serial refinancers" — those lucky enough to borrow at lower rates — and given them new opportunities to spend their freed up cash.

Settlement attorney Robert Gratz never used to be on a first-name basis with his clients.

"In the past, our practice was such that you'd see people, and that was the end of it," he says.

Gratz now sees the same faces all the time, of clients refinancing again and again — these days in the mid-3 percent range.

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2:44am

Fri August 17, 2012
Planet Money

Competing Against The Nicest Guy In Town

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 2:36 pm

Hondo (left) and Dizz.
Chana Joffe-Walt NPR

For more: Why does the government subsidize crop insurance in the first place? We try to answer that question in our latest podcast.

The federal government spends about $7 billion a year on crop insurance for U.S. farmers. Policies are sold by private companies, but the government sets the rates, so the companies can't compete on price.

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6:35pm

Thu August 16, 2012
All Tech Considered

What's In Your Wallet? Wait, You Don't Need One

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 6:39 pm

A barista processes a customer's payment using Square, a device that turns a mobile device into a card swiper. More businesses are using the devices to simplify credit card payments. Others are embracing technology that allows consumers to pay with their cellphones.
Jeff Wheeler MCT/Landov

Most Americans pay with plastic or cash when they visit the grocery store, buy their daily coffee, or fill up the gas tank. But a growing number of large companies are trying to change that.

Google, Starbucks and Wal-Mart are among the many firms that are eager to replace consumers' wallets and stores' cash registers, with smartphones and other mobile devices.

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