WASHINGTON — Americans swiped their credit cards more often in March and took out more loans to attend school. That drove the biggest one-month increase in U.S. consumer borrowing in a decade.
Consumer debt rose by $21.4 billion in March from February, the Federal Reserve said Monday. It was the seventh-straight monthly increase and the largest since November 2001.
A measure of auto and student loans increased by $16.2 billion. A separate gauge of mostly credit card debt rose $5.2 billion after declining in January and February.
AT&T plans to sell systems for homes
NEW YORK — AT&T Inc. will start selling home automation and security services nationwide, taking on incumbents led by Tyco International Ltd.’s ADT.
The installations and services will be sold in AT&T stores, starting with a trial this summer in Dallas and Atlanta.
Several of AT&T’s competitors, including cable TV company Comcast Corp. and phone company Verizon Communications Inc., have ventured into the home automation and security field.
In other news
BEEF PRODUCTS INC. will close its processing plants in three states this month because of the controversy surrounding its meat product that critics have dubbed “pink slime,” company officials said Monday. About 650 jobs will be lost when plants are closed in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa.