robwilson39/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A government watchdog announced a $30 million penalty being leveled against Bank of America on Friday for allegedly unsound practices linked to the bank's non-home loans and debt collection.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the penalty in a press release, adding that it ordered remediation to 73,000 impacted customer accounts. "The OCC took the actions against the bank for violations of law and unsafe or unsound practices in connection with the bank's non-home loan compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and unsafe or unsound practices in connection with non-home debt collection litigation practices," the release read.
In a statement, Bank of America Global Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Policy Executive Andrew Plepler said that the bank has "taken significant steps over the last several years, and will take further steps now to ensure we have the right controls and processes in place to meet -- and exceed -- what is required by law and what our military customers deserve and expect."
The OCC's claim stated that Bank of America violated a law designed to ease financial pressures on military members. The law, the New York Times says, limits interest rates that banks can charge deployed military members.
The OCC also determined that Bank of America used improper practices in debt collection involving both military members and civilians.
Bank of America said that the issues touched just "a small percentage of credit and deposit overdraft customers who defaulted on their account" and that they have been working to remedy the issue since 2011.
Anheuser-Busch(CARTERSVILLE, Ga.) -- This Bud’s for flood victims.
Anheuser-Busch, the parent company that brews Budweiser, switched one of its 12 U.S. breweries from canning beers to canning water.
50,000 cans will be sent to areas of flooding in Oklahoma and Texas, with the first arriving in Oklahoma City on Friday, the beer-maker said.
“Relief workers and people in the community are in need of drinking water as they work to recover from the storms,” Rob Haas, general manager at the Cartersville brewery in Georgia, said in a statement.
The brewery cans emergency relief water a few times a year, partnering with the American Red Cross to distribute the cases to storm-ravaged areas.
More water cans will go out to Houston and Austin on Monday.
At least two dozen people have died in the flooding that has pounded Oklahoma and Texas since last weekend -- and at least seven are still missing.
tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Revised data on the United States' Gross Domestic Product led to another down day on Wall Street, with all three major indices closing lower than at Friday's open.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 115.44 to 18010.68.
The Nasdaq gave up 27.95 to finish the day at 5070.03, while the S&P 500 closed at 2107.39, slipping 13.40.
On Friday, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers said Friday that real GDP fell by 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015. That figure, revised downwards from a previous report, was blamed in part on harsh winter weather. Still, the report noted, consumers have saved much of their large gains from last year's decline in gasoline and energy prices.
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- American Express President Ed Gilligan passed away on Friday after falling ill on an airplane flight, the company said.
In a letter to American Express employees, company Chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault said that Gilligan had died, calling his death "deeply painful and frankly unimaginable for all of us who had the great fortune to work with Ed." Gilligan, 55, had served as president of the company since 2013.
Bloomberg News reports that Gilligan was flying home on a company plane from Japan to New York.
Chenault noted in his letter that Gilligan had began working at American Express 35 years ago, as an intern, eventually climbing to the rank of Vice Chairman in 2007 and President in April 2013. "His contributions have left an indelible imprint on practically every area of our business," Chenault said.
Gilligan was considered by many to be the heir apparent to Chenault, who has been CEO and chairman of American Express since 2001. Chenault wrote that he asked Gilligan's direct leaders to report to him.
A spokeswoman for American Express did not respond to requests for comment.
Gilligan is survived by his wife and four children.
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. economy slowed in the first three months of the year.
The Commerce Department announced on Friday that gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 0.7 percent in the first quarter -- more than first estimated.
The White House downplayed the downward revision to GDP growth, saying it was "entirely accounted for by revisions to inventory investment and net exports."
"The first-quarter slowdown was the result of harsh winter weather, tepid foreign demand, and consumers saving the windfall from lower oil prices," Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement.
But the economic picture appears to be getting better: There are signs of a rebound in the current quarter.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can lack gender diversity, an online career site names a handful of jobs in those categories for having the best prospects for women.
CareerCast on Thursday released its Best Jobs for Women in 2015 report, listing 11 jobs, unranked, in which the percentage of women working in that field is rising or steady.
The barriers of entry for women in those fields are disappearing, CareerCast publisher Tony Lee said. The role of biomedical engineer, for instance, has one of the highest percentages of new graduates who are women of any STEM field.
CareerCast also selected the jobs for their relative high income and strong growth potential, using data from the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics that represent the entire labor force.
“Because technological jobs are such a bedrock of the 21st century economy, STEM employers would be wise to meet growing demand through the active hiring of more women,” Lee said in a statement.
Lindsey Piegza, Sterne Agee chief economist, said employment opportunities for women have greatly expanded over the years because women themselves are increasingly willing to break the mold and seek employment outside of traditional female roles. There's also an increased willingness on the part of employers to hire the most qualified candidate, regardless of gender, she added.
Still, Piegza said there are many other factors to consider when judging whether a particular job may be "best" for a woman.
"In the end, society benefits from producing a highly educated and entrepreneurial labor force comprised of men and women," Piegza said.
Here are the CareerCast's best job picks for women this year, in alphabetical order:
Annual Median Wage: $93,680
Projected Growth Outlook (through 2022): 26 percent
Unilever(NEW YORK) -- Ice cream trucks are so last century -- which is exactly what Good Humor and its distributors are trying to change.
Rolling out this summer in the Northeast are two new takes on the classic ice cream truck that roves suburban neighborhoods looking for susceptibly hungry children.
“We wanted to engage the community this summer in a fun and stylish way,” Carnival Ice Cream director of marketing and development Brittany Palillo told ABC News. “We wanted to change the image of ice cream to something trendy, different and modern.”
That includes iPads for ordering, with nutritional information, as well as swapping out the classic jingle for pop hits, updated uniforms and a colorful truck design.
“They’re bright, summer-y and easy to spot. They’re a fun change,” Palillo said. “People think they’re cool and fun and have been loving them.”
She’s not kidding -- Carnival’s (a distributor for Good Humor) sales have already doubled this season. Six trucks have deployed in Nassau County in Long Island, New York, with more coming soon.
Another updated truck coming soon will be featured on a promotional tour by Good Humor's parent company, Unilever. The truck will start its Northeast tour on June 25, popping up to surprise consumers at work and other unexpected places with free ice cream.
“The Good Humor truck has been the icon of summertime fun and joy,” Unilever's director of ice cream, Nick Soukas, told ABC News. “We’re getting ready to launch the ice cream truck of the future and reintroduce the joy of the ice cream truck through a modernized truck of the future.”
Unilever’s so-called modernized truck of the future -- still only a rendering, at this point -- will keep the classic shape, jingle and colors, but will feature digital television screens, social media capabilities and updated freezers that will allow people to see and interact with the product.
“It’s going to be the epitome of what we think the ice cream truck of the future should be, and we think it will really redefine the experience that consumers have. The joy they expect from an ice cream truck will really be reignited with this program,” Soukas said. “Some ice cream trucks are great when you experience them. Others don’t look so good and are stuck in the past. This is our first step toward saying, ‘Hey, we want to be known as the ice cream truck brand,’ because that’s our heritage, and that means taking the next step into the future.”
A Lamborghini Urus during a Audi group reception on March 11, 2013 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) -- Italian carmaker Lamborghini has finally announced plans for its SUV, vying for customers with a taste for a luxury utility.
Automobili Lamborghini first introduced the Lamborghini Urus in 2012 at the Beijing auto show, but it announced its production plans on Wednesday. The company says it plans to introduce the SUV to market in 2018 and it will be produced in an expanded factory site in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy. The carmaker says it plans to produce around 3,000 cars, which will double company sales.
“The Lamborghini SUV is a big deal because it marks the Italian automaker’s return to this segment since the long-ago departed LM002, which was more like a Hummer than the luxury SUVs we see today," Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor for Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News.
There’s no price tag yet, but DeLorenzo predicts it will be in the $200,000-plus range.
Audi, which is owned by the German Volkswagen Group, acquired Automobili Lamborghini in 1998.
“Lamborghini, Italdesign Giugiaro and Ducati have developed very successfully under Audi parentage, and kept their Italian identity," Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of Audi AG, said in a statement. "With the decision to produce the Lamborghini SUV in Sant’Agata Bolognese we have proven once more our commitment to Italy as an important automotive industrial nation.”
The SUV won't be Lamborghini's first foray in the utility space. The 1986 Lamborghini LM002, dubbed the "Rambo Lambo," was the predecessor to the Hummer H2. The U.S. military blew up a model that belonged to Saddam Hussein's son Uday in 2004 to simulate the effects of a car bomb. Time Magazine included it in a list of "50 Worst Cars of All Time" but "purely because of its appalling clientele." It fell victim to emissions and poor fuel economy, as well as business difficulties, DeLorenzo said.
Lamborghini's move to create a more conventional upscale crossover is testament to the strength of that market, especially in places like the United States and China, DeLorenzo said. He adds that the company needs the profits from this SUV -- which as a category tend to have high profit potential -- to maintain its ability to build limited-run high end sports cars.
Akshay Anand, analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said Lamborghini customers who need an SUV now have a reason to stay within the brand rather than purchasing elsewhere for lack of segment options.
"Loyalty is extremely important to automakers, and SUVs are critical for all brands to maintain loyalty as world markets continue to shift towards SUVs," Anand said. "Other exotic car companies have announced or will announce SUVs, and Lamborghini was certainly going to be a part of this wave."
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is expected to cut as many as 5,000 jobs by next year.
The Wall Street Journal reports the layoffs are part of an effort to slash costs and become a more efficient company. Within the next year, the paper says, J.P. Morgan Chase will cut at least two percent of its entire workforce.
In February, the bank announced that it expected expenses to drop slightly, the Journal reports.
tarabird/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After consecutive sessions of gains, Wall Street closed slightly lower on Thursday, after new Labor Department data showed higher levels of unemployment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 36.87 on Thursday, closing the session at 18126.12.
The Nasdaq ended the day at 5097.98, a loss of 8.61, while the S&P 500 slipped 2.69 to 2120.79.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that unemployment claims jumped by 7,000 in the last week. The latest figures showed 282,000 Americans filing for unemployment benefits after just 275,000 filed the week before.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that J.P Morgan Chase & Co. is expected to lay off more than 5,000 employees by next year. The job cuts would represent about two percent of the bank's employees.
Photo by: Newscast/UIG via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Every step you take, every move you make, your friends may be watching you, thanks to a new Chrome extension that can track a user's location based on Facebook Messenger.
Aran Khanna, a computer science and mathematics student at Harvard, created Marauders Map, an extension that can be downloaded for Google's Chrome browser and used to plot the movements of a person's friends on a map.
"The first thing I noticed when I started to write my code was that the latitude and longitude coordinates of the message locations have more than 5 decimal places of precision, making it possible to pinpoint the sender’s location to less than a meter," Khanna wrote in a Medium post explaining why he opted to take on the project.
Some glitches have been reported in the extension, meaning it may not not work for everyone who uses it. Perhaps the most alarming scenario is how Khanna said he was able to use it to ascertain friends' daily routines.
"I decided to write this extension, because we are constantly being told how we are losing privacy with the increasing digitization of our lives, however the consequences never seem tangible," Khanna wrote. "With this code you can see for yourself the potentially invasive usage of the information you share, and decide for yourself if this is something you should worry about."
A Facebook spokesperson told ABC News that location sharing has been a way for people to "better connect with their friends on Messenger."
"We've been listening to people's feedback and for the last few months have been working hard to improve this experience. We will be rolling out improvements very soon," the spokesperson said. "In the meantime, people can still choose to turn off location sharing at any time by tapping the blue arrow in the message composer."
Another option: Check the privacy settings on your smartphone or tablet. For iOS users, this can be done by going to settings, privacy, location services. From here, scroll down to Messenger and toggle the location setting off if desired.
Android users can perform the same check-up by choosing applications for the settings tab. From there they can check app permissions for Messenger.
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Yogurt mogul Hamdi Ulukaya is giving away his fortune. Most of it, anyway.
The Turkish immigrant behind the Chobani brand has made billions popularizing greek-style yogurt with Americans. He’s worth an estimated 1.4 billion dollars, and now, he says he'll give at least half of that to charity.
Taking a cue from business moguls like Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffet, Ulukaya penned a letter Thursday on the Giving Pledge website.
He writes he’ll be starting a new foundation to help refugees, which he'll call “Tent.”
“I am publicly committing the majority of my personal wealth — along with everything else I can do — to help refugees and help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis.”
Ulukaya harkens back to his roots in Turkey in the letter, discussing how he grew up on a Kurdish dairy farm. Eastern Turkey, where Ulukaya is from, borders both Syria and Iraq. The United Nations estimates there are currently roughly 2 million refugees in Turkey, 1.8 million of those from Syria. That number is expected to grow in 2015.
Chobani, or “shepherd” in Turkish, started selling yogurt in the U.S. in 2007 and quickly became one of the country’s top yogurt producers. Chobani gives 10 percent of their profits to charity, but Ulukaya’s “Tent” will be built on his personal wealth.
“I thank Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for providing the inspiration for this important commitment and hope that my commitment to the Giving Pledge will in turn inspire others to do the same.”
Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The latest Android update -- M -- is officially in the pipeline, Google announced Thursday at its annual I/O developer's conference.
It wasn't immediately known which sweet treat Android M would be named for, following Google's tradition of working its way through the alphabet, naming each operating system update after a sweet treat.
Android M will be available as a pre-release version Thursday with a wider release slated for later this year, bringing with it performance enhancements including Chrome custom tabs to improve the mobile browsing experience.
Another welcome feature is an apps permissions system allowing users to approve or deny security settings for an app on a case-by-case experience.
Android Pay, Google's newest answer to the mobile wallet, was also announced today. Working with built-in fingerprint support in Android M, users will be able to use Near Field Communication readers in their phones to pay at certain retailers.
The company also announced an app to help organize your photos and videos with its new photos application, called Google Photos. Working across all of a user's devices, photos is a place where memories can be easily accessed.
There's no need to create groups or albums. The app works by auto-grouping photos, letting users easily search for a specific memory such as "beach birthday party" or "Michelle's wedding."
The app will also make it incredibly easy to share multiple photos with friends across social media and via an easy link that can give someone access to a specific set of photos.
Also unveiled Thursday, Google Expeditions takes students on virtual field trips to enhance their learning. The second iteration of a virtual reality experience that Google showed off last year, Cardboard V2 will also work with iOS -- making it yet another step for Google bringing virtual reality to the masses.
Oculus VR®(RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.) -- The price of virtual reality won't be cheap.
When Oculus Rift releases its consumer headset and computer next year, CEO Brandon Iribe said the system will likely cost around $1,500 -- making the virtual reality dream for the masses expensive.
"We are looking at an all-in price, if you have to go out and actually need to buy a new computer and you’re going to buy the Rift ... at most you should be in that $1,500 range," Iribe said at Re/code's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Iribe said over time he hopes the cost will be lowered to around $1,000.
The virtual reality start-up, which was acquired by Facebook last year for $2 billion, is set to have a big year. Earlier this week, Oculus announced in a blog post it had acquired Surreal Vision, a company focused on constructing real-world scenes in a virtual space.
"Great scene reconstruction will enable a new level of presence and telepresence, allowing you to move around the real world and interact with real-world objects from within VR," the Oculus blog post said.
It was announced earlier this month that pre-orders for the consumer version of the virtual reality goggles will begin later this year, with the first customers being able to strap on the eyewear in the comfort of their own homes beginning in the first quarter of 2016.
Oculus has yet to give specific dates for the release, but teased a headset that will have updated ergonomics to give it a more natural fit.