Originally created 01/30/97

Business briefs



Carolina First plans to acquire Lowcountry Savings

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Carolina First Corp., which has branches in Aiken County, on Wednesday announced the signing of a non-binding letter of intent to acquire Lowcountry Savings Bank and plans to merge Lowcountry into Carolina First Bank, a subsidiary of Carolina First.

The transaction, which is subject to regulatory and Lowcountry shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 1997. Lowcountry has five offices in the greater Charleston area, and at Dec. 31, has about $76 million in assets and $62 million in deposits.

Justice Department examines Nationwide Mutual Insurance

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The Justice Department is looking into whether Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. violated civil rights laws by instructing agents to avoid insuring homeowners in minority neighborhoods.

The nation's sixth largest property and casualty insurer also faces lawsuits in at least seven states accusing it refusing to write insurance policies on the basis of race or residence in low-income areas.

At least six Nationwide agents have said they were told not to do business in sections of cities where minorities were in the majority.

Big Three automakers earnings flat last year

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Big Three earnings were flat last year at just over $12.9 billion, partly because of a 22 percent overall decline in fourth-quarter profits blamed largely on General Motors Corp.'s big strike costs.

1996 ended up as Detroit's third most-profitable year.

It would have ranked No. 1 if not for GM's $1.2 billion in after-tax losses from strikes in the United States and Canada and an abundance of other one-time charges.

The record for combined Big Three profits was $13.9 billion in 1994, followed by $13 billion in 1995.