Business & Finance

Three more senior Fannie Mae vice presidents are stepping down as the giant mortgage lender continues to address its financial reporting problems, published reports said Monday. Those affected will assume temporary advisory roles, the reports said. Chief executive Franklin Raines and chief financial officer Timothy Howard were forced out just before Christmas, and performance bonuses were eliminated for 43 senior managers after regulators discovered that the federally chartered company needs to restate $9 billion of earnings, or about one-third of its profits, going back to 2001.

Tight new controls on the fast march to capitalism in China were announced by the Beijing government, which ordered all state-owned businesses to be overseen by Communist Party committees. Their mission will be to ensure what official news agency reports called "normal activities" while "consolidating the party's ruling status." China has roughly 150,000 state enterprises, with only the largest and most strategically vital under direct control of the central government. Most of the rest are under local or provincial control. The new orders were prompted by several recent financial scandals and cases of senior executives misusing their powers or accepting bribes. But analysts also noted that the orders come as China's enterprises increasingly are turning to modern management, production, and investment standards.

For the fourth time in less than two years, a unit of General Motors will sell part of its loan portfolio to a major British mortgage lender. The buyer, Bradford & Bingley, will pay about $2.6 billion for the portfolio, all of it involving residential property, reports said. Bradford & Bingley's three previous purchases from GMAC-RFC are worth a combined $5.8 billion.

Seeking to avert the labor problems that idled much of southern California's grocery business last year, three major supermarket chains - Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger - reached deals with their unionized employees in the San Francisco Bay area, CBS MarketWatch reported. The tentative truce, which affects about 30,000 people, comes less than a year after the same companies ended a 4-1/2-month strike and lockout in southern California. Details of the new deals were not available. But according to a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, its members will have to spend more time on the job before qualifying for pay raises.

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