Financial
Campers help Amazon keep up with holiday rush PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by BRUCE SCHREINER, Associated Press   
Sunday, 15 December 2013 07:46

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Twinkling lights, ornament-strewn trees and bustling campgrounds. Those are signs of the Christmas season in this Kentucky town, where the Amazon.com distribution center recruits an armada of RV owners as seasonal workers to help fill holiday orders.

They're dubbed the "CamperForce" by the world's largest online retailer. Hundreds of campers are assigned packing, sorting and collection duties at Amazon warehouses in Kentucky, Kansas and Nevada — roles meant to keep orders flowing during the yuletide rush.

Swarms of workers take up temporary residence in campgrounds. For many, it's another short-term stint on a nonstop journey. It's a lifestyle and mindset for retirees, empty nesters and younger parents who shuck traditions of home and work to roam from campsite to campsite, job to job.

"It's a job, it's not a career, so you don't have to take it so seriously," said Ron Dale, a college graduate with a business degree. "Go and have a good time. ... You don't have the stress of thinking, 'I've got to perform at an unbelievable level. I've got to work extra hours so the boss knows I'm dedicated.'"

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Bank in Texas is 24th closed this year PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 14 December 2013 07:09

WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators have closed a small bank in Texas, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures to 24 this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday it has taken over Texas Community Bank NA, based in The Woodlands, Texas.

The lender, which operated two branches, had about $160.1 million in assets and $142.6 million in deposits as of Sept. 30.

Spirit of Texas Bank SSB, based in College Station, Texas, agreed to assume all of Texas Community Bank's deposits and to buy $147.9 million of the failed bank's assets.

The FDIC is retaining the remaining assets for later disposition.

The failure of Texas Community Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $10.8 million.

The lender is the second FDIC-insured institution to fail in Texas this year. In September, it shuttered First National Bank, based in Edinburg, Texas.

U.S. bank failures have been declining since they peaked in 2010 in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.

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Federal judge approves swipe fee settlement PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Saturday, 14 December 2013 07:11

A U.S. federal judge has approved a $7.25 billion settlement between merchants and Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. over credit card transaction fees.

A group of 19 merchants and trade groups sued the companies in 2005, alleging they conspired to fix fees charged to stores for handling credit card payments. A settlement was reached in last year but some retailers rejected it, in part because of a provision that barred future lawsuits.

The $7.25 billion settlement figure does not reflect companies that opted out.

The settlement also allows merchants to tack on surcharges for credit card transactions to help offset these fees. Judge John Gleeson said the agreement has the "potential to unleash a new competitive force on interchange fees."

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Florida billionaire testifies in N.Y. he got bad wine PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 14 December 2013 07:07

NEW YORK (AP) — Florida billionaire William Koch has come to federal court in Manhattan for the second time this year to testify that he's been victimized by fake wine.

Koch took the stand Friday at the trial of an Indonesian-born immigrant accused of selling more than $1.3 million of counterfeit wine bottles to wealthy collectors.

He told reporters afterward that he's spent $25 million to "shine a bright light on the fake wine business." He says he bought 219 fake bottles for $2.1 million from the defendant.

He also revealed that he has decorated the walls of his Florida bathroom with wine bottles and used corks for the ceiling.

Koch won a $12 million Manhattan jury award earlier this year in a civil dispute against a California businessman.


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