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European Commission urges loans to Greece

BRUSSELS --- The European Commission urged Germany and other eurozone governments Friday to put up a package of government-to-government loans to ease Greece's financial plight and end weeks of financial turmoil and speculation.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said European aid is necessary because "we cannot prolong any further the current situation."

He spoke of "coordinated bilateral loans" that would not have to be paid out immediately.

Even as a standby gesture, Barroso said, the availability of aid from Greece's partners would show financial markets that EU nations are united to defend their single currency and the stability of the eurozone, the area of 16 EU nations that use the euro.

Greek government spokesman George Petalotis called Barroso's appeal a "positive development."

Georgia banks among 7 seized by regulators

WASHINGTON --- Regulators shut seven banks in five states Friday, bringing to 37 the number of U.S. bank failures this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over First Lowndes Bank in Fort Deposit, Ala.; Appalachian Community Bank in Ellijay, Ga.; Bank of Hiawassee in Hiawassee, Ga.; and State Bank of Aurora in Aurora, Minn.

It also shuttered Advanta Bank Corp., based in Draper, Utah; American National Bank of Parma, Ohio; and Century Security Bank of Duluth, Ga.