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Walmart Foundation giving $12 million to Feeding America

To help organizations meet the increased demand during the pandemic and the holidays, the Walmart Foundation is granting the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, Feeding America, $12 million over two years and is encouraging its stores, clubs and distribution centers in the U.S. to also donate to hunger-relief organizations through the end of the year.

In addition to funds, Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs will also be donating food to help local communities combat food insecurity.

Last year, in Tennessee, Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs combined to donate more than 19.7 million pounds of food to local food banks.

So far this year, more than 5,000 hunger-relief organizations in the U.S. have received support from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation through the donation of 480 million pounds of food and over $55 million in grants for hunger relief. Complemented by these efforts, Walmart customers, Sam's Club members and suppliers have raised and donated nearly $18 million for hunger relief.

 

Trump banker retires from Deutsche Bank

President Donald Trump's longtime banker at Deutsche Bank, who arranged for the German lender to make hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to his company, is stepping down from the bank.

Rosemary Vrablic, a managing director and senior banker in Deutsche Bank's wealth management division, recently handed in her resignation, which the bank accepted, according to a bank spokesman, Daniel Hunter.

"I've chosen to resign my position with the bank effective Dec. 31 and am looking forward to my retirement," Vrablic, 60, said in a statement.

The reasons for the abrupt resignation of Vrablic, as well as that of a longtime colleague, Dominic Scalzi, were not clear. Deutsche Bank in August opened an internal review into a 2013 real estate transaction between Vrablic and Scalzi and a company owned in part by Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump.

Vrablic and Scalzi joined Deutsche Bank in 2006 from Bank of America. In 2011, Vrablic landed a prominent new client: Trump, who for decades had been mostly off-limits to the mainstream banking world because of his tendency to default on loans. With her bosses' approval, Vrablic agreed to a series of loans, totaling well over $300 million, for his newly acquired Doral golf resort in Florida, for his troubled Chicago skyscraper and for the transformation of the Old Post Office building in Washington into a luxury hotel.

The relationship between Trump and the German bank is the subject of congressional, civil and criminal investigations. In New York, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating whether Trump committed financial crimes as he sought to get loans from Deutsche Bank.

 

Existing home sales drop in November

The market for existing homes cooled slightly in November, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, after climbing through the late spring, summer and early fall despite the pandemic.

Existing home sales fell 2.5% between October and November on a seasonally adjusted basis to 6.69 million annualized units. That's the first decline in that figure since May, when housing market activity started recovering from the shutdowns of March and April due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Sales of existing homes are still up 25.8% from a year earlier, the trade association said. The average sale price of a home was $310.800 in November, up 14.6% from a year earlier, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

 

Consumer confidence declines over coronavirus worries

A closely-watched gauge for U.S. consumer confidence tumbled to a reading of 88.6 in December as rising coronavirus cases dragged American optimism to its lowest level since summer.

Rising pessimism is spreading during the crucial holiday season, which could make or break a number of retailers, restaurants, gyms and other places hammered by the pandemic.

The December number released Tuesday by the Conference Board represents a big decline from November's reading, which was revised downward to 92.9. The drop was far worse than analysts had expected and is an ominous sign for retailers with Christmas around the corner.

The Commerce Department reported last week that U.S. retail sales fell a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in November. It was the biggest drop in seven months, and a steeper decline than Wall Street analysts had expected.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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