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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

United Airlines' black pilots sue over lack of promotion

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Black pilots for United Airlines are claiming in a federal bias lawsuit that few minority workers are promoted to upper management.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco says nearly all black employees at United Continental Holdings Inc., United's parent company, are in nonmanagement positions.

The airline carrier denies the allegation. Spokeswoman Megan McCarthy says United does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.

The lawsuit alleges that blacks were placed in management simply to give the world's largest airline company a false appearance of diversity. It also claims they are often excluded from social gatherings, informal email chains and other forums where company issues are discussed. The pilots are seeking an end to the alleged discrimination, back pay and other damages.

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Key bank's charter renewed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Obama has signed legislation that renews the charter of the Export-Import Bank for three years and increases the banks lending cap to $140 billion from the current $100 billion. The bank is the government's vehicle for promoting U.S. export sales.

Obama says the move will help thousands of businesses sell their products and services overseas and help them create jobs at home. The president says the independent federal agency is a key factor toward reaching his goal of doubling exports over five years.

Lawmakers passed the legislation earlier this month amid resistance from conservatives who argued that the bank distorts the market. The bank had support from numerous business groups. Last year it provided about $32 billion in loans, loan guarantees and credit financing, helping support 290,000 jobs.

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Volkswagen to add SUV

Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest carmaker, plans to add a midsize sport utility vehicle to its U.S. lineup, the chief executive officer of its unit in the country said.

"There's a great opportunity for us for a midsize SUV in the U.S." that would be positioned between the smaller Tiguan and larger Toureg SUVs, Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning told reporters at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit.

He declined to say when the company may introduce the model.

-- Bloomberg News

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HSBC branches' sale OK'd

Federal bank regulators have approved Community Bank System's planned purchase of 16 branches from HSBC Bank USA, including three in Western New York.

DeWitt-based Community Bank is buying the branches from First Niagara Financial Group, which completed its purchase of 195 HSBC branches across the state May 18. Community Bank is also buying three First Niagara offices in a separate but related deal.

Community Bank, which already operates 33 Western New York branches, is buying offices in Gowanda, Springville and Westfield, plus others in Central New York and the North Country. With the approval of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the deal is slated to close July 20, with the branches to be converted over that weekend.

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Big bucks for Exxon CEO

Exxon Mobil's CEO had a good year in 2011 -- compensation valued at $25.2 million. Shareholders did as well, and they're supporting the oil giant's pay program.

Investors at Exxon's annual meeting cast 78 percent of shares in favor of the compensation program, rejecting critics who said pay was too high.

CEO Rex Tillerson's 2011 salary and other compensation made him the 16th-highest paid executive among publicly traded U.S. companies.

Rising oil prices helped boost Exxon's 2011 net income by 35 percent to $41 billion, the company's best year since 2008. The stock rose 16 percent.

Shareholder consultant ISS Proxy Advisory Services recommended that investors vote against Exxon Mobil Corp.'s executive compensation.

-- Associated Press