biz bits

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
After a year of selling candy and cake at Augusta's Saturday Market, Barbara Cheney has moved into a permanent store. Her confection and sandwich shop, Seed Master's Unlimited, is at 744 Broad St. and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Cheney has been baking her signature candy, pralines, for 30 years, and started a business because people kept asking if they could buy them. "I tasted pralines at a store from somebody else ... and mine were better," she said. Seed Master's also sells cakes, cookies and sandwiches.

Augusta Credit Union offers finance classes


The Augusta Credit Union chapter will hold free financial classes Saturday that are open to the public.

The classes will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Allgood Hall at Augusta State University. Topics include financial and budget planning, retirement planning, car buying, knowing your credit report and credit score, identity theft and how to protect yourself, knowing your credit union, money matters for teens and home-buying.

Classes should last about 30 minutes each, so it's possible to attend all of the classes listed.

For more information, contact Lauren Smith at (706) 793-0012.

Credit card debt rises after two-year decline

WASHINGTON --- Americans are putting more money on their credit cards after more than two years of cutting back, a sign that they are gaining confidence in the economy.

The first increase in credit-card debt since the financial crisis hit helped to boost overall consumer borrowing 3 percent in December, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2.41 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Monday. It was the third-straight monthly gain.

Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose 3.5 percent, the first rise since August 2008. Borrowing on auto loans increased 2.8 percent.

FDIC seeks delay in executives' bonuses

WASHINGTON --- Federal regulators have proposed making top executives at large financial firms wait at least three years to be paid half of their annual bonuses, a move designed to cut down on risky financial transactions.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. voted Monday to advance the rule, which builds on more general requirements in last year's financial regulatory law to curtail risk-taking. The rule targets firms with $50 billion or more in assets, seeking to tie bonuses with financial performance over a longer time period.

The requirement would apply to major financial institutions, such as Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Lawmakers and government officials have blamed outsize bonuses for helping to fuel the financial crisis, saying they encouraged short-term risk-taking. The financial regulatory law enacted last year simply directed government regulators to put in rules to prohibit incentive-based payments that encourage excessive risks.

Other financial regulators -- including the Federal Reserve, two Treasury Department agencies, and the Securities Exchange Commission -- must also adopt the bonus rule before it is finalized. They are expected to act in the next few weeks, and the final rule could take effect by the fall, officials said.

Delta's new seats to offer more legroom

NEW YORK --- Delta Air Lines will offer a premium economy section on international flights this summer, with more legroom and room to recline -- at an additional cost of $80 to $160 each way. The new seats will be available to book starting in May.

Those who pay extra for the new seats will also get to board early and get free alcoholic drinks during the flight.