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General Mills, the nation's No. 2 cereal manufacturer, said federal regulators have made a preliminary decision to file civil charges against it, as the Securities and Exchange Commission continues an inquiry into its sales practices. Chief executive Steve Sanger and chief financial officer James Lawrence also confront possible charges, the Minneapolis-based company said. Industry observers suggested the inquiry may be related to the promotional fees paid to retailers in exchange for preferred shelf space.

People's Bank announced the $2.6 billion sale of its credit card business Tuesday to Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The new owners plan to keep all 450 employees associated with the unit, officials said. People's is based in Bridgeport, Conn., and has more than 150 branches across the state.

Toyota Motor Corp. won the OK from regulators to offer banking services in the US, but a spokesman said they'll be oriented to vehicle buyers and dealerships and won't include mortgage financing. The Japanese automaker - the world's second-largest in terms of unit sales - applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in late 2002 for a banking license in Nevada. The spokesman said the new unit will be wholly owned, will be called Toyota Financial Savings Bank, and will be have an initial capitalization of $10 million.

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