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briefs

Tower now known as Old National

The deal is done. All former Tower Bank locations are now Old National Bank branches.

Evansville-based Old National Bancorp on Monday announced the $110.3 million acquisition was completed on Friday, just ahead of last weekend’s conversion of Tower branches to Old National locations.

Old National also reported first-quarter earnings of $26.5 million, or 26 cents per diluted common share, an 11 percent increase from the $23.9 million, or 24 cents a share, posted for the first three months of 2013.

The company set aside significantly less of its profit for bad loans during the period ended March 31, reducing the amount to $37,000 from $845,000 for last year’s first quarter.

Bob Jones, Old National’s president and CEO, said in a statement that the company is transforming as it expands “into vibrant, growing markets.” Officials, he said, are committed to the company’s community banking mission.

Home contracts up, first time since June

More Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, the first increase since June and a sign that the housing market might pick up after a sluggish start to the year.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 3.4 percent to 97.4 last month. Still, the index remains 7.9 percent below its level a year ago.

Pending sales are a barometer of future purchases: A one- to two-month lag usually exists between a signed contract and a completed sale.

The gain partly reflects a recovery from the harsh winter. Snowstorms and freezing temperatures kept many potential buyers away from open houses.

A limited supply of available homes has pushed up prices in the past year. That’s likely discouraged many buyers and caused sales of existing homes to steadily decline since last summer.

Still, the rise means that home sales could rebound during the spring.

Microsoft warns of Explorer security gap

Microsoft says a security gap in Internet Explorer could allow an attacker to take complete control of a computer if the user clicks on a malicious link.

The vulnerability affects versions 6 through 11 of the Web browser.

Microsoft Corp. said Saturday that it was aware of “limited, targeted attacks” that tried to exploit the security gap. The company is working on a fix which it plans to provide in a software update on May 13.

In the meantime, Microsoft encourages customers to enable a firewall, apply all software updates and install anti-malware software.

A division of the Homeland Security Department recommends that users download a security toolkit from Microsoft or use another browser until an update becomes available.

Some Frontier clients experience disruptions

A wet cable issue has intermittently interrupted Frontier Communications’ landline and Internet service since Friday in parts of southeast Fort Wayne, a spokeswoman said late Monday afternoon.

Fewer than 50 customers are affected, Dana Berkes said. Company officials expect to have service restored by 6 p.m. today.

“Our crews have been working around the clock since it went out to fix it,” Berkes said.

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