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Consumer borrowing rose more slowly in April

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer borrowing increased more slowly in April, restrained by a sharp reduction in credit card debt.

The report suggests Americans may be resisting their credit cards after seeing employers pull back on hiring this spring.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that consumers increased borrowing by $6.5 billion in April. That's just half the March gain.

The increase was driven by a $9.96 billion rise in a category that measures auto and student loans. That offset a $3.4 billion drop in credit card debt, the first decline since January.

Total borrowing rose to a seasonally adjusted $2.55 trillion.


GM to extend Volt's range

DETROIT -- General Motors' changes to the battery of the Chevrolet Volt will extend the 2013 model's range beyond Toyota's plug-in Prius in miles-per-gallon equivalent.

GM said the all-electric range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles on a single charge after the company increased battery storage capacity and changed the cell's chemistry. That's an increase of three miles. The model's mpg-equivalent will rise to 98 miles from 94, the company said in a statement on its website.

Toyota's plug-in Prius gets a 95 mpg-equivalent, and the company has said it's capable of traveling 15 miles on electricity alone. GM overtook Toyota in global sales last year to become the top-selling automaker.

Volt was the best-selling rechargeable auto in the United States last month, with deliveries more than tripling to 1,680 from a year earlier. That topped Prius and Nissan's all-electric Leaf.

Prius jumped to the world's third-best-selling car line in the first quarter. U.S. demand and incentives in Japan caused Prius sales to more than double to 247,230, trailing only Toyota's Corolla at 300,800 and 277,000 for Ford Motor Co.'s Focus.

-- Bloomberg News


Banks told to set aside more

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve wants U.S. banks to set aside more money to cushion against unexpected losses, a key step in preventing another financial crisis.

The Fed governors voted, 7-0, Thursday to propose rules requiring all banks hold at least 7 percent of their assets in capital reserves. That's up from a minimum of 2 percent currently required and in line with international standards.

The rules are open to comment until September. They will be finalized after that. But some banks won't have to meet the requirements until 2019. That's because the rules have to be coordinated with international standards that are being phased in over the next seven years.

The capital requirements for banks were mandated under the 2010 financial overhaul.

The banks have lobbied vigorously against the proposals. They say setting aside so much money in reserve could limit what they can lend.


Wellsville Carpet makes list

A Cattaraugus County furniture retailer has been recognized in Furniture Today's "Top 100 Furniture Retailers."

Wellsville Carpet Town in Weston Mills, near Olean, was ranked 98th by the trade magazine, which cited its 23 percent increase in sales volume from 2010 to 2011. The company's gains were attributed to the acquisition of two Ashley stores in Central Pennsylvania.

Wellsville Carpet Town owns nine licensed Ashley stores in Western New York and Pennsylvania and one Carpet Town Carpet One store.

For the sixth year in a row, Ashley Furniture HomeStores, a national furniture retail chain, scored the list's No.1 spot. That company, with 21 stores in New York including Amherst and Orchard Park, is headquartered in Wisconsin.


National Fuel dividend up

National Fuel Gas Co. has raised its quarterly dividend by 3 percent, or a penny per share -- the 42nd straight year the Amherst-based energy company has increased its payments to shareholders.

National Fuel said Thursday it is raising its quarterly dividend to 36.5 cents per share, from 35.5 cents. The increased dividend will be payable July 13 to shareholders of record on June 29.