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Home loan adjustments picking up

Banks participating in the landmark National Mortgage Settlement reported about $71.3 million has been extended to more than 1,900 Indiana borrowers through refinancing or home loan modifications, state officials said Wednesday.

This relief became available in February after 49 states and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined the federal government’s settlement with Ally, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

According to the report compiled by the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, about $13.87 million in refinancing was given to 450 current Indiana borrowers. About $57.4 million was extended to 1,461 borrowers for loss-mitigation relief that could have included help through short sales, loan modifications, deeds in lieu of foreclosure or principal reductions.

Indiana homeowners who were foreclosed upon and experienced a service error between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2011, will receive a total of $31.4 million in cash payments. In September, claim packets were mailed to eligible borrowers.

Consumers must complete their claim forms and return them in the envelope provided or file them online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com. The deadline for all claims is Jan. 18. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in mid-2013.

Business expansions in Indiana post gains

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said Wednesday it has already worked with 220 companies this year – including Sweetwater Sound – that have made decisions to expand or establish new business operations in Indiana.

The number released Wednesday outpaces the 219 decisions by companies announced at year-end last year and every other year on record, the IEDC said in a written statement.

“With nearly five weeks left in the year, 2012 has already broken the state’s all-time record for number of deals won,” said Dan Hasler, secretary of commerce and chief executive of the IEDC.

The 220 companies anticipate investing $3.6 billion in their Indiana operations and creating 20,866 new jobs in coming years. These new positions pay an expected average hourly wage of $22.35, above the state’s current hourly wage of $19.66.

Moody’s lowers HP’s long-term debt rating

Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday lowered its long-term credit rating on Hewlett-Packard, saying the technology giant will have trouble increasing sales of many of its products.

Moody’s lowered HP’s senior unsecured credit rating by one notch, to “Baa1” from “A3.” The rating remains investment grade but Moody’s said its outlook is negative, implying it could be further downgraded.

HP’s finances will remain weaker than previously expected “over the immediate term,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Richard Lane said in the rating announcement.

Disney dividend hike comes earlier this year

The Walt Disney Co. is raising its annual dividend by 25 percent and making the payout in December in an apparent move to help shareholders avoid possible higher taxes next year.

Disney’s board said Wednesday the company will pay a dividend of 75 cents a share Dec. 28 to shareholders as of Dec. 10. That is up from its prior dividend of 60 cents. Disney had been paying its annual dividend in January in recent years.

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