Driving the Day: 5/10/12

May 10, 2012

Need to know…

  • Postal Service Ditches Plans to Close Thousands of Post Offices. At a news briefing, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the Postal Service was backing off its plan to close up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices in May. Citing community opposition, Donahoe said the agency will now whittle down full-time staff but maintain a part-time post office presence in rural areas. The Postal Service intends to seek regulatory approval and get community input, a process that could take several months. The new strategy would then be implemented over two years and completed in September 2014, saving an estimated half billion dollars annually.
  • House Votes to Extend Export-Import Bank Charter. The House voted yesterday to extend the Export Import Bank’s charter through September 2014 and raise its loan exposure cap to $140 billion - a 40% increase. The bill must still pass the Senate, but the lopsided 330-93 House margin makes it harder for conservatives to obstruct. Republicans split 147-93 for the measure, and Democrats were unanimous in their support. The Senate is expected to act on it quickly.
  • Three Chinese Banks Expanding in U.S. Just days after high-level U.S.-China economic talks in Beijing, the Federal Reserve approved an application from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to buy a majority stake in the U.S. subsidiary of Bank of East Asia.  The transaction will make ICBC the first Chinese state-controlled bank to acquire retail bank branches in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The decision could open the door to other Chinese takeovers of U.S. banks, although it is unlikely China will make significant inroads into the U.S. banking industry anytime soon. … The approval comes as China, prodded by the U.S., is slowly opening its markets to foreign companies and investors.

Worth the read…

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