Economic growth at end of 2010 exceeds estimate

The U.S. economy grew a little faster at the end of 2010 than the government had previously estimated, boosted by more inventory building and business investment in plants and equipment.

But rising oil prices will likely limit growth this year.

The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the October-December quarter, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That represents an upward revision from last month’s 2.8 percent estimate for the same period.


Sallie Mae bringing back deferred loans for students

Sallie Mae says it’s bringing back an option that lets students wait until after graduation to start repaying loans.

The private student lender, formally known as SLM Corp., had done away with its signature deferred-payment option loan during the credit crisis in 2009.

At the time, Sallie Mae began requiring borrowers to make interest payments while in school. The company said the in-school payments helped defray long-term costs for students by reducing the amount of interest that accumulated on the loan.


Borders seeks OK to pay incentives to retain execs

Borders Group has asked for bankruptcy court permission to pay $8.3 million to key employees it says are leaving at a rate of five a week since its Chapter 11 filing last month.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., bookseller filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 16. Since then, it said 25 “significant corporate employees have voluntarily departed” from departments such as finance, merchandising and information technology.

The incentive payments for the company’s top 17 executives would range from $4.7 million to $7.1 million and would occur either 30 days after the reorganization plan becomes effective or the closing of a “going concern” or liquidation sale.

A separate retention bonus plan would apply to 25 non-executive managers.


FDIC seizes Illinois bank, raising total for year to 26

Regulators have shut down a small bank in Illinois, boosting to 26 the number of U.S. bank failures this year following 157 closures in 2010.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday seized Bank of Commerce, with one office in Wood Dale, Ill., $163.1 million in assets and $161.4 million in deposits. Advantage National Bank Group, based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., agreed to assume the failed bank’s assets and deposits.

In addition, the FDIC and Advantage National Bank Group agreed to share losses on $145.7 million of Bank of Commerce’s loans and other assets.


GM resuming plant output after Japan supply shortfall

General Motors Co. will resume production at its assembly plant in Shreveport, La., one week after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami led to supply-chain problems that reached across the Pacific Ocean.

Doug Ebey, head of the United Auto Workers local, said Friday that the 800 employees at the plant will resume their normal four-day workweek on Monday.


Fed’s Hoenig announces he’ll step down in October

Thomas M. Hoenig, the longest serving of the Federal Reserve’s 12 regional bank presidents, announced on Friday that he will retire on Oct. 1.

Hoenig, who has headed the Fed’s Kansas City regional bank since 1991, has opposed the Fed’s efforts to boost the economy through an extended period of low-interest rates and the purchase of billions of dollars in Treasury securities.