Business news in brief
In the Region
Republic Bank reports loss
Republic First Bancorp Inc., the Philadelphia-based holding company for Republic Bank, reported a net loss of $2.2 million for the third quarter of 2013 compared with a profit of $400,000 in the third quarter of 2012. The company attributed the difference to the settlement of a lawsuit that meant a one-time charge of $1.9 million. Republic has 13 branches in the region and is building a new branch in Cherry Hill. Bank officials said in their statement that nonperforming loans decreased by $5.8 million to $7.5 million, or 1.15% of total loans, as of Sept. 30, 2013, compared with $13.3 million, or 2.09% of total loans, as of June 30, 2013. - Inquirer staff
Mercy nurses ratify contract
Voting Thursday and Friday, 300 nurses at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital ratified a new three-year contract with the hospital, according to their union, the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals. Nurses will get a minimum increase of 2 percent a year - and more based on experience, with starting pay at $29.80 an hour. The Darby Borough hospital also agreed to the creation of a committee to resolve staffing issues. A group of non-represented case managers was also included in the bargaining unit. - Jane M. Von Bergen
Report: JPMorgan, FHFA deal
JPMorgan Chase & Co. has reached a tentative agreement on roughly $4 billion to settle claims the bank misled mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of mortgages it sold them during the housing boom, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed people close to the discussions. The Federal Housing Finance Agency and JPMorgan declined to comment. The New York bank hopes to include this deal with a larger pact with the Justice Department to resolve several probes into the bank's past sale of mortgage bonds, and settle potential civil and criminal charges. The total deal might be $11 billion, but that is far from certain.
GE improves in key division
General Electric Co. posted lower overall revenue and profit in the third quarter, but improving sales of complex industrial equipment gave hope to investors that the company's transformation of its business is succeeding.
The company's results exceeded Wall Street expectations on the strength of 11 percent growth in profit at its industrial divisions - those that make aircraft engines, CT-scanners, gas turbines, locomotives, and oil and gas drilling equipment. GE has sold or reduced nonindustrial businesses, such as its banking division and NBCUniversal. - Associated Press