Business briefs

First Bank owner sees profits rise


The Augusta company that owns First Bank of Georgia reported higher quarterly profits Wednesday.

Georgia-Carolina Bancshares Inc. posted net income of $1.7 million for the second quarter, or 47 cents per share, compared with net income of $981,000, or 28 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2011.

Chief Executive Remer Brinson III said the bank is closing more mortgages, up 17 percent from last year, and is setting aside less money each quarter for bad loans.

Assets have increased for the year, from $493.2 million to $499.8 million. Total deposits also grew in the first half of the year, from $411.3 million to $413.3 million.

First Bank of Georgia has bank branches in Richmond, Columbia and McDuffie counties, and mortgage offices in Augusta and Savannah. The company plans to open its seventh branch next year, which will be on Washington Road in Evans.

Toyota reclaims automaker crown

TOKYO — Toyota bounced back from safety recalls and natural disasters, selling 4.97 million vehicles globally in the first half of the year to retake its crown as the world’s top automaker from General Motors Co.

The Japanese company sold about 300,000 more cars and trucks than GM did in the first half of the year, a lead large enough that it will be difficult for GM to catch Toyota in the final six months of 2012.

GM said it sold 4.67 million vehicles during the first half.

Fewer new homes sold during June

WASHINGTON — Americans bought fewer new homes in June after sales jumped to a two-year high in May. The steep decline suggests a weaker job market and slower growth could make the housing recovery uneven.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales of new homes fell 8.4 percent last month from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 350,000. That’s the biggest drop since February 2011.

Geithner accused of LIBOR inaction

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers are criticizing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for not alerting Congress four years ago that banks could have been manipulating a global interest rate.

Geithner, who was then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said he immediately alerted U.S. and British regulators in 2008 when he learned of problems with the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR. He also said the problems were written about in the financial media.

Geithner defended his actions Wednesday at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

Former big banker says smaller better

NEW YORK — Sandy Weill is having a change of heart.

Weill, the aggressive deal maker who built Citigroup on the idea that in banking, bigger is better, said Wednesday that he believes big banks should be broken up.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, the 79-year-old Weill appeared to shock the show’s anchormen when he said that consumer banking units should be split from riskier investment banking units.


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