AIG repays last of $85 billion loan
By raising money through a series of asset sales and stock offerings, AIG, the giant U.S. insurer that was nationalized during the 2008 financial crisis, has raised enough money to repay the last of an $85 billion emergency loan it received from the Federal Reserve in 2008. The U.S. still owns 92 percent of AIG’s stock, which it plans to sell over the next two years.
The Washington Post
Fewer Americans own homes
Home ownership is on the decline. The Census Bureau reported that 66.5 percent of U.S. households owned their homes at the end of 2010, down from 67.2 percent 12 months earlier. The rate was 69 percent at the end of 2005.
Credit-card interest rates peak
Credit-card interest rates, now averaging 14.72 percent, are closing in on their all-time highs. Credit-card reforms that took effect last year limit some fees and mandate fuller disclosures, but they do not cap interest rates. So card companies are upping rates—many exceed 20 percent—to make up for revenue lost due to lower fees.
Consumers hoard the incandescent
With conventional incandescent lightbulbs scheduled to start being phased out next year, some consumers are hoarding their old favorites. One in eight Americans—13 percent—intends to stock up on 100-watt bulbs and keep using them after they disappear from stores next January.
Lenders return to commerical property
Lenders originated $110 billion in commercial mortgages last year, a 36 percent increase over 2009’s activity. Lenders have returned to the market after fears of a commercial-property meltdown proved overblown.