Maine expects $470,000 settlement with SunTrust

Maine is expected to receive about $470,000 in a settlement with SunTrust Mortgage Inc. over the mortgage lender’s abusive practices.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office said in a news release that about 185 Maine consumers whose mortgages were serviced by SunTrust and who lost their homes through foreclosure because of SunTrust’s poor service are eligible for payments. The payments come from a national $40 million fund for direct payments to borrowers created in a joint state-federal settlement with SunTrust.

The three-year settlement provides payments to Maine borrowers for past foreclosure abuses, loan modifications and other relief. Its mortgage servicing terms largely emulate the National Mortgage Settlement reached in February 2012 between the federal government, 49 state attorneys general, including Maine’s, and the five largest national mortgage servicers.

That agreement provided consumers nationwide with more than $50 billion in direct relief, created new servicing standards and implemented independent oversight of the mortgage industry’s largest players, said the release.

New probes of Chrysler minivans, SUVs launched

A U.S. safety agency has opened two investigations into Chrysler minivans and SUVs as part of a widening inquiry into air bag and ignition switch problems across the U.S. auto industry.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began asking automakers and parts suppliers for information on the interrelated issues after General Motors recalled 2.6 million small cars with faulty ignition switches earlier this year.

U.S. deficit grows to reach highest level in 18 months

A drop in U.S. exports and lower income from overseas investments drove the U.S. current account deficit to its highest level in 18 months.

The Commerce Department says the deficit jumped to a seasonally adjusted $111.2 billion in the January-March quarter, up from a revised total of $87.3 billion in the October-December quarter. The fourth quarter’s total was the smallest in 14 years.

– From staff and news services