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Fed toughens rules for larger foreign banks

The Federal Reserve will require the largest foreign banks operating in the United States to hold higher levels of capital reserves to protect against potential loan losses.

The stricter regulations the Fed adopted Tuesday are intended to prevent the types of threats that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. The requirements are similar to those already adopted for big U.S. banks.

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, presiding at her first public meeting of the central bank’s board, said the changes will “help address the sources of vulnerability” exposed by the crisis. The rules were adopted by a 5-0 vote.

Foreign banks had objected to the changes. They argued that the stricter rules would raise the cost of doing business in the United States and reduce the loans they could provide.

Sally Miller, CEO of the Institute of International Bankers in New York, said her organization was pleased that the Fed had made some adjustments to the rules.

First Defiance to buy First Community Bank

First Defiance Financial Corp., holding company for First Federal Bank of the Midwest, said Tuesday it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Columbus, Ohio-based First Community Bank.

First Federal will acquire First Community Bank in a cash transaction in which First Community will merge with and into First Federal.

First Community Bank operates four branches in the Columbus, Ohio, market. As of December 31, First Community had assets of $101.4 million, loans of $65.4 million, deposits of $90.5 million and common equity of $10.6 million.

First Federal will pay $12.9 million in cash for all outstanding shares of First Community Bank, subject to certain adjustment factors. The transaction has been approved by each party’sboard of directors and is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter.

Local home sales decline 14.8 percent

Sales of existing homes in the region decreased 14.8 percent in January compared with the same period a year ago, a report Tuesday from the Upstate Alliance of Realtors showed.

Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said 346 homes sold last month, down from 406 in January 2013.

The average January sale was $108,914, a 5.7 percent decrease from $115,471 in the same month last year.

Urban League to host job fair for Lowe’s

The Fort Wayne Urban League will host a job fair Thursday to help Lowe’s fill about 50 full-time and part-time seasonal openings at stores in Fort Wayne and Bluffton.

The job fair is from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Urban League, 2135 S. Hanna St.

Judge approves Fisker assets sale

A Delaware bankruptcy judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the remaining assets of failed electric-vehicle maker Fisker Automotive to Chinese auto-parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group.

Judge Kevin Gross approved the results of an auction last week in which Wanxiang beat Hybrid Technology, led by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, with a bid of $149.2 million in cash and other considerations.