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Business Digest

Finance

Richard Fuld will step down as chief executive of failed investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. by the end of the year and won't receive severance or a bonus, a spokesman said Wednesday.

He will stay on as chairman of the board.

Fuld faced growing pressure to give up the job, as critics accused him of contributing to the demise of the nation's fourth-largest investment bank. He has been a prominent target of public outrage over risky practices on Wall Street that helped send the economy spiraling into turmoil.

The announcement comes one day after New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli accused Fuld of leading Lehman to its chaotic, predawn Chapter 11 filing on Sept. 15.

“Mr. Fuld's decisions drove the company toward ruin, as his board stood idly by,” DiNapoli argues in court papers filed late Tuesday asking a bankruptcy judge to appoint an independent investigator in the case. Associated Press

Finance

GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp. gripped by a cash squeeze, posted its fifth straight loss and said its mortgage unit may not survive.

The third-quarter net loss widened to a record $2.52 billion from $1.6 billion a year earlier, the Detroit-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Total net revenue declined 43 percent to $1.72 billion. The Residential Capital home-loan unit lost $1.9 billion during the quarter, and GMAC's auto finance business lost $294 million.

GMAC – whose CEO is former Bank of America Corp. chief financial officer Al de Molina, 51 – was crushed by slumps in the housing market, where foreclosures are running at record levels, and in auto sales, which GM labeled the worst since 1945 when it reported October results this week. ResCap, which ranked among the biggest U.S. subprime lenders two year ago, has posted losses totaling $9.1billion over the past eight quarters.

Without more support from GMAC, “substantial doubt exists regarding ResCap's ability to continue as a going concern,” GMAC said. Bloomberg News

Airlines

Delta Air Lines will begin charging $15 for passengers for their first checked bag and $25 for a second checked bag on domestic flights, the Atlanta-based airline announced Wednesday.

But it's also dropping a fuel surcharge for frequent flier award tickets, as well as a $3 fee for curbside check-in.

The new first-checked-bag fee goes into effect immediately for new bookings for travel Dec. 5 or later. People with advance bookings made prior to Wednesday will not have to pay the first-bag fee, regardless of dates of travel.

Until now, Delta had no fee for a first checked bag and charged $50 for a second checked bag. Delta had been one of the only major airlines not charging for a first checked bag. “Customers are not differentiating Delta as the only major airline not charging a first checked bag,” Delta's chief operating officer Steve Gorman said in a written statement. Cox News

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