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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News

  • JPA Executive Director resigns
  • Compass Bank fined
  • Legislature in turmoil


JPA Executive Director resigns 

The executive director of the Joint Powers Authority at McClellan has resigned.  Dan Cleckler submitted his resignation to the JPA board during their monthly meeting Tuesday morning.  Cleckler told the board he will be willing to stay on during a transition period.   The JPA’s personnel committee will meet with Cleckler and begin a search for a replacement.  Having been with the JPA since it’s inception, Cleckler said he has seen major accomplishments at McClellan.  JPA Vice Chairman Chip Howell is meeting this week with army officials in Washington seeking additional funds for ordinance cleanup and removal at McClellan.


Compass Bank Fined 

Compass Bank said Monday it has settled federal complaints that it engaged in a pattern of lending discrimination against some applicants for car loans based on their marital status. The Justice Department and Compass said the Birmingham bank will pay up to $1.75 million, plus interest, to non-married loan customers who were charged higher interest rates than married couples. A consent decree, which still must be approved by a federal judge in Birmingham, says Compass promised it will not discriminate on the basis of marital status in any aspect of its automobile lending. Ed Bilek, a Compass senior vice president, said the bank admitted no wrongdoing and noted that the loans in question occurred between May 2001 and May 2003. He declined to say how many loans were involved in the investigation, saying only "it did not represent a significant amount of our business." The probe looked at lending through the bank's operating territory.  Compass had revealed in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last August that the Justice Department was investigating its auto lending practices. In the filing, Compass said the investigation concentrated on its "indirect auto lending" practices. Indirect loans originate at auto dealers and are forwarded to banks for approval.

The Justice Department said Compass has implemented changes to its lending procedures that bar distinctions based on marital status and will maintain those new policies. Compass said it will provide enhanced equal credit opportunity training to its officers and employees who set rates for automobile loans.          

Legislature in Turmoil 

The newly elected leadership in the Alabama state senate has legislators in an uproar with changes in senate rules.  On the house side, Rep. Randy Wood of Anniston says the problems in the senate affects both houses. Rep. Wood said things in the house have been shaken up a bit as well.  Wood said he has received several key committee appointments.  Both chambers of the house continue to hold organizational meets in Montgomery in preparation for the legislative session which begins in march.

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