Talking Points

TALKING POINTS

Ginnie Mae announces new safety measures following criticism by Warren

MORTGAGES

Ginnie Mae announces new safety measures following criticism by Warren

Ginnie Mae, government-backed mortgage company charged with servicing US veterans, announced new safety measures Thursday after being publicly chastised by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for misleading consumers. In response to Warren’s Sept. 6 letter, which expressed concern that Ginnie Mae and its lenders were intentionally misleading its consumers into refinancing mortgages, the company said it had already identified the “patterns of suspicious behavior” Warren identified and are working to improve services. Warren was concerned with a practice called “loan churning” among veterans, a term used when a lender refinances their current mortgage for a supposedly better offer. In her previous letter, Warren cited data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showing some veterans were complaining about being pressured or misled in their loan churning decisions. In response to the new Ginnie Mae letter, Warren said Thursday she’s glad the company has chosen to “crack down on lenders who are exploiting veterans in order to line their own pockets.” “These abusive practices are wrong, and lenders who engage in them shouldn’t benefit from any taxpayer backing,” Warren said. — ASTEAD HERNDON

SAFETY CONCERNS

Target recalling dressers that can tip over

Target says it is recalling nearly 180,000 dressers because they can tip over and pose a risk to children. The Minneapolis retailer said Wednesday that it has received 12 reports of its Room Essentials four-drawer dressers falling over or collapsing. Two 3-year-old children were struck by a dresser, but no injuries have been reported. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission says customers should stop using the $118 dresser immediately and return it to any Target store for a full refund. About 175,000 of the dressers were sold in the United States, and 3,000 were sold in Canada. The dressers, which were sold at Target Corp. stores and Target.com between January 2013 and April 2016, came in three colors: black, espresso, and maple. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

Target to hire 100,000 for the holidays

Target is stocking its stores and warehouses with even more extra staff this holiday shopping season, hoping to win customers with easy-to-find goods and fast service. It’s hiring 100,000 people to work at its more than 1,800 stores during its busiest time, up 40 percent from last year. Target said Wednesday that the seasonal hires, an increase from the 70,000 people it hired for the holidays last year, will stock shelves or fulfill online orders that customers pick up in stores. The retailer also plans to hire 4,500 people to help pack and ship online orders at its warehouses. Target is one of the first major retailers to publicly announce its holiday hiring figures. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

GOVERNMENT

Ryan won’t promise that tax plan won’t increase the deficit

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House Speaker Paul Ryan is backing off months of promises that the Republicans’ tax plan won’t add to the nation’s ballooning deficit. Ryan said in an AP interview that the most important goal of an overhaul is economic growth. GOP leaders made that ‘‘revenue neutral’’ promise in a campaign manifesto last year and many times since. But on Wednesday, when asked twice whether he would insist the emerging tax plan won’t pile more billions onto the $20 trillion national debt, Ryan passed up the chance to affirm that commitment. On the issue of immigration, Ryan pledged to find a solution for the nearly 800,000 immigrants brought to the United States as children and now in the country illegally. He declared that removing them all is ‘‘not in our nation’s interest.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

GOVERNMENT

Trump blocks sale of semiconductor firm to Chinese-backed investor

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President Trump blocked a Chinese-backed investor from buying Lattice Semiconductor Corp., a rebuke that bodes poorly for several other Chinese buyers seeking US security clearance for their acquisitions. It was just the fourth time in a quarter century that a US president has ordered a foreign takeover of an American firm stopped because of national-security risks. Trump acted on the recommendation of a multi-agency panel, the White House and the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The spurned buyer, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC, is a private-equity firm backed by a Chinese state-owned asset manager. The Trump administration has maintained the United States’ tough stance against Chinese takeovers of American businesses even as it seeks China’s help to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. Other Chinese deals under review include MoneyGram International Inc.’s proposed sale to Ant Financial, the financial-services company controlled by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. The government is also examining an agreement by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. to buy a stake in SkyBridge Capital LLC, the fund-management company founded by Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly Trump’s White House communications director. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOBILES

BMW looks
to cut costs
to free up money for electric cars

BMW AG aims to cut roughly $2.4 billion from its annual purchasing bill by squeezing costs for transmission components and other parts to help finance the shift to electric cars. Amid plans to roll out at least 12 electric cars by 2025, Munich-based BMW is seeking to trim about 5 percent from spending on car parts alone. BMW, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, and Volkswagen AG are projecting that battery-powered vehicles could comprise more than a quarter of their sales by the middle of next decade. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

Nordstrom stock rises on word that private equity firm may help fund buyout

Nordstrom Inc. climbed the most in three months on a report that private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners may help fund a buyout, setting the stage for a transaction by the retailer’s founding family. Family members are close to picking Leonard Green to help with the deal, CNBC reported late Tuesday. The firm would provide about $1 billion to help take Nordstrom private, according to the business-news channel. The Nordstrom family first said it was considering a buyout in June. The idea is to continue its turnaround plan outside of the glare of public markets, giving them an opportunity to improve sales and test new concepts with less scrutiny. The report came a day after Nordstrom’s latest store concept received a chilly reception from investors. The company announced plans to open a small shop in West Hollywood, Calif., that wouldn’t keep inventory on site. The idea is to let customers try outfits and work with a stylist, but then have the merchandise delivered from another location. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

RETAIL

JC Penney loses big on divestment

JC Penney Co. bailed on Brazil more than a decade ago. In hindsight, sticking it out would have been the smarter move. The market value of Lojas Renner, the Brazilian retailer that JC Penney divested in 2005 for $230 million, is now $7.9 billion, an increase of more than 3,300 percent. Meanwhile, the iconic American department-store chain has seen its own business founder as US brick-and-mortar outlets buckle under the weight of e-commerce. Penney is now worth just a fraction of its former value. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TRAVEL

Swiss government agency investigating Booking.com

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A Swiss government agency said Tuesday it has opened an investigation into possible ‘‘abusive pricing’’ by the online travel reservations provider Booking.com. The price watchdog agency said in a statement that it found evidence that the company may be charging ‘‘abusive high prices’’ to hotels that want to be included on their Web listings. Stefan Meierhans, a price supervisor at the agency, said consumers and hotel guests were not affected directly. The agency said it had reached out to the company, but that Booking.com was ‘‘not interested in an amicable solution,’’ and ‘‘did not want to engage in negotiations with the price watchdog.’’ Under Swiss law, the agency, which protects consumer rights, has the authority to intervene and set market prices in cases where a company with dominant position is deemed to have set prices unfairly. — ASSOCIATED PRESS