Consumer borrowing in U.S. rises to record $3.27 trillion

U.S. consumers increased their borrowing in September with gains in credit card debt and auto and student loans.

The Federal Reserve says overall borrowing rose $15.9 billion following a $14 billion gain in August and a $22.8 billion July increase. The gains have pushed total consumer debt to a record level of $3.27 trillion.

The category that includes credit cards showed a $1.44 billion increase in September after having dropped by $201 million the previous month. The category that covers auto loans and student loans increased $14.48 billion after a $14.23 billion increase in August.

Regulators criticize lenders over risky leveraged loans

Federal regulators say they’re concerned about a continued heavy risk in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, with the amount of risky loans remaining at double the levels before the financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve and other agencies say that a large portion of the risk comes from loans made to investment firms for financing takeovers of companies. Those loans, called leveraged loans, accounted for 22.6 percent of total large loans outstanding and 74.7 percent of the loans deemed risky by the regulators, according to the agencies’ latest annual review.

The review found “serious deficiencies” in credit standards for making leveraged loans and in managing their risk.

Expanding AT&T wants to buy Iusacell for $1.8 billion

AT&T is buying Mexican wireless company Iusacell for $1.8 billion and plans to grow in Mexico.

The Dallas company said Friday that Iusacell has 8.6 million subscribers under the Iusacell and Unefon brand names. AT&T had 116.6 million subscribers as of June 30.

AT&T values the deal at $2.5 billion when debt is included.

The company sees potential for growth in Mexico because of its rising population and middle class, even as the proportion of Mexican people with wireless service lags other Latin American countries, according to AT&T.

Ford replaces chief executive in Europe amid regional losses

U.S. automaker Ford on Friday replaced its European boss amid widening regional losses and two years into a turnaround plan aimed at returning the division to profitability.

Ford’s global marketing chief, Jim Farley, will take over as head of European operations, based in Cologne, Germany, switching roles with outgoing European chief executive, Stephen Odell, who was named to the marketing job, the automaker said in a statement.

Ford hasn’t turned a pretax profit in Europe since 2010, the year Odell took over as the region plunged into a recession that provoked the region’s biggest car market contraction ever. Ford is forecasting a $1.2 billion loss in Europe for 2014.

– From news service reports

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