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Business news in brief

In the Region

More without heat this year

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said that about 19,653 households would enter the winter season without heat-related utility service, compared with 15,975 at this time last year, and that nearly two-thirds of the customers are in the Philadelphia area. The PUC's annual Cold Weather Survey said Philadelphia Gas Works reported that 9,049 households that heat with natural gas were without service, the highest number of all utilities. A total of 13,508, or 63 percent of the state's shutoff accounts, are in the Philadelphia area. The PUC encouraged consumers to call their utility first to make arrangements to pay their bill. The PUC may be able to provide assistance at 1-800-692-7380. - Andrew Maykuth

Sewell bank acquired

Investors Bancorp Inc. and Investors Bancorp MHC won Federal Reserve approval to acquire Gateway Community Financial MHC and its subsidiary GCF Bank, according to a statement from the Fed. GCF Bank, based in Sewell, Gloucester County, will be merged into Investors Bank, which is headquartered in Short Hills, N.J., according to the Fed's statement. Investors is the 10th largest depository institution in New Jersey and GCF is the 77th largest, according to the Fed. - Bloomberg News

New acquisitions by Regency

Regency Energy Partners L.P., the Dallas pipeline company that is acquiring PVR Partners L.P. of Radnor, announced two more acquisitions of oil and gas "midstream" companies Monday. Regency said it would acquire Eagle Rock Energy Partners L.P.'s midstream business for $1.3 billion. Eagle Rock owns and operates a network of natural gas pipelines and processing plants located in the Texas Panhandle and East Texas. It also announced the $290 million acquisition of the midstream assets of Hoover Energy Partners L.P., which operates an oil and gas handling and processing network in West Texas. - Andrew Maykuth

Water rate hike gets OK

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved a settlement that allows Pennsylvania American Water to increase water rates by $26 million, less than half of the company's initial request. Under the agreement approved Thursday, the total monthly bill for a typical residential customer using 3,960 gallons in the company's main division will increase 5.6 percent, from $52.52 to $55.45. The company provides water and wastewater service to about 2.2 million residential customers across 35 counties. - Andrew Maykuth

PNC settles home-loan case

PNC Financial Services Group is paying $35 million to resolve government claims of discrimination in residential loans against a Cleveland-based bank that PNC bought in 2009. The agreement announced by the Justice Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau addresses claims that more than 75,000 African American and Latino customers of National City Bank paid more for their residential loans between 2002 and 2008. There is no allegation of discrimination by Pittsburgh-based PNC, which bought National City Bank. - AP

Parke Bank raises $20M

Parke Bancorp Inc., of Sewell, parent of Parke Bank, said it completed a private placement of 20,000 shares of newly designated series B preferred stock. Gross proceeds were $20 million, with net proceeds of $18.6 million to be used for general corporate purposes, the bank said. Parke Bank has four branches in New Jersey and one in Center City. - Reid Kanaley

Hospital systems form ACOs

Two Philadelphia-area health systems were among 123 organizations that received approvals to begin operating Medicare accountable-care organizations on Jan. 1. The Accountable Care Organization of Pennsylvania Inc. is affiliated with Jefferson Health System. Lourdes Health System's entry is the LHS Health Network L.L.C. Both will cover Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Accountable care organizations emphasize coordination among medical practitioners in a bid to improve quality and reduce costs. Any savings is split between Medicare and the health-care providers. - Harold Brubaker


Consumer spending up

Americans increased their spending in November by the most in five months, and their income edged up modestly. Consumer spending rose 0.5 percent from October, when spending had risen 0.4 percent, the Commerce Department said. The gain was driven by a jump in spending on long-lasting durable goods such as autos. - AP

Hyundai, Kia pay up to $395M

Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors will pay up to $395 million to consumers as part of a proposed settlement over overstated gas mileage. The Environmental Protection Agency found inflated numbers on 13 Hyundai and Kia vehicles in November 2012. Hyundai and Kia acknowledged the problem, changed the fuel economy numbers, and blamed a procedural error. - AP