Originally created 12/03/99

Business briefs: Euro falls below $1 for first time



LONDON -- Europe's fledgling single currency, the euro, tumbled below $1 for the first time ever Thursday, less than a year after it was launched amid fears it might become so strong it would hurt the economies of both the United States and Europe.

The single currency now has plunged 16 percent from its first day of trading, Jan. 4, when it quickly rose to a high of $1.1886.

Days Inns to fund renovations

WASHINGTON -- Days Inns, the nation's largest hotel chain, agreed Thursday to help finance renovations at up to 200 hotels built since early 1993 and ensure that new inns are accessible to disabled guests.

The Justice Department said Days Inns of America Inc. and its parent, Cendant Corp., will provide $4.75 million for interest-free loans to franchise owners of Days Inn hotels built after Jan. 26, 1993, so they can remove obstacles and better accommodate the disabled.

Nation's S&Ls deemed Y2K ready

WASHINGTON -- The nation's thrifts are fully prepared for the year 2000 change, and very few have experienced heavy cash withdrawals by customers, the government's top S&L regulator said Thursday.

Ellen Seidman, director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, expressed some concern, however, about an increase at some thrifts in higher-risk loans. She noted that during the past two years, the number of thrifts with commercial loan portfolios exceeding 10 percent of their total assets has more than doubled, from 26 to 59 of the nation's 1,111 federally chartered S&Ls.