Bank of America website continues to have problems

Bank of America’s consumer online banking service was slow for a fifth day Tuesday. And the bank still isn’t saying what the problem is.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank has said many times since Friday that it resolved the problem. But visitors to its home page Tuesday saw an error message saying the site is “running slowly” and customers might experience delays or have difficulty accessing parts of it.

The message encourages customers to try again at “a non-peak time” or to visit an ATM.

Bank of America Corp. is the largest U.S. bank by deposits and has 29 million online customers.

Spokeswoman Tara Burke said the website problems are not the result of hacking. She declined to “break out the root cause” for the problems but said the bank was continuing to “assess the situation.”

State of New York says bank defrauded pension funds

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Bank of New York Mellon for $2 billion Tuesday, claiming it earned that amount over 10 years by defrauding clients in foreign currency exchange transactions.

According to Schneiderman’s office, BNY Mellon misrepresented rates it would give currency transactions, providing nearly the nearly rates of the trading day instead of the best. The case began with a 2009 whistle-blower complaint followed by an investigation. Clients include public pension funds.

New York City joined in the suit.

The bank said the lawsuit was “prosecutorial overreach” based on “a fundamental misunderstanding” of the role of custodian banks in the global foreign currency market.

Disney plans to re-release four more classics in 3-D

Fresh off the successful re-release of “The Lion King” in 3-D, Disney says it will churn out four more classics in three dimensions starting with “Beauty and the Beast” in January.

“The Lion King” topped the domestic box office for two weekends last month after being re-mastered in 3-D. So far it has made $80 million in North America.

The Walt Disney Co, hopes to repeat the formula with “Beauty and the Beast” in January, “Finding Nemo” in September next year, “Monsters Inc.” in January 2013 and “The Little Mermaid” in September 2013.

Victims of Madoff schemeto begin getting restitution

Some of the investors bilked by Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff will soon be receiving some money back.

The trustee charged with recovering funds for customers of the jailed financier said that some $312 million will be distributed starting today on claims relating to 1,230 accounts.

Trustee Irving Picard has recovered about $8.7 billion from investors who were paid fictitious profits by Madoff above the amount they invested.

That’s about half the roughly $17.3 billion lost by Madoff customers who have filed claims.

Citing debt, bad economy, Moody’s downgrades Italy

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Italy’s government bond ratings to “A2” with a negative outlook from “Aa2,” the result of high debt, a weak global economy and political uncertainties that delay corrective action.

While the change moves the rating down three notches, it’s still investment grade. Moody’s affirmed the short-term ratings at Prime-1.

Ford to pay UAW workers signing bonuses, create jobs

Ford will pay most of its United Auto Workers-represented employees a $6,000 signing bonus and $3,700 in additional profit sharing this year under a new four-year tentative pact, the union said Tuesday.

Workers with a year or less of service will get a $5,000 signing bonus, the union said at a press conference. Ford will also make annual $1,500 payments to its UAW workers, which take the place of cost-of-living pay adjustments.

Ford committed to adding 12,000 hourly jobs in its U.S. manufacturing plants by 2015, the Dearborn, Mich.-based company said Tuesday.

The figure includes 5,750 more UAW jobs than a previously announced 6,250 hourly positions to be added by the end of 2012, Executive Vice President John Fleming said.

“A lot of the core economic structure of the agreement is the same” as the union’s accord with General Motors, said Kristin Dziczek, a labor analyst with the Center for Automotive Research, including the forgoing of raises and cost-of-living adjustments for profit-sharing payments and raises for entry-level workers.