Jim Zarroli

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Prior to moving into his current role, Zarroli served as a New York-based general assignment reporter for NPR News. While in this position he covered the United Nations during the first Gulf War. Zarroli added to NPR's coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the London transit bombings and the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Before joining the NPR in 1996, Zarroli worked for the Pittsburgh Press and wrote for various print publications.

Zarroli graduated from Pennsylvania State University.

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Federal regulators are taking aim at a practice they say is forcing millions of struggling homeowners to pay higher insurance premiums. The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued an order today. It bars banks from charging lucrative fees and commissions on so-called lender-placed insurance policies. NPR's Jim Zarroli explains.

He took his name from a 13th century saint who gave up his wealth and threw in his lot with the poor. As cardinal in Argentina, he eschewed the trappings of power and privilege, taking public transportation and even cooking his own meals.

The board of the computer company Dell is said to be weighing several takeover offers. The company's founder has allied with the private equity firm Silver Lake to take the company private.

Cyprus is facing a run on its banks after the government proposed taxing bank deposits. The government has put off a vote on the plan in a bid to calm things down. Banks are set to re-open on Thursday after a bank holiday was declared on Monday.

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Senior executives at JPMorgan Chase appeared on Capitol Hill today. They were asked by a Senate subcommittee to explain how the firm lost more than $6 billion last year in a failed hedging strategy. The testimony comes one day after the subcommittee released a report saying the bank misled regulators and the public about the size of the losses. NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more.

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When she got out of college and moved to New York, Elizabeth Cline liked to shop at vintage-clothing stores. They were the kinds of places tucked away on side streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where a lot of hunting and a little luck might reward you with a great, inexpensive cocktail dress that no one else had.

Then she discovered the world of "fast fashion" — chains like Forever 21, H&M and Zara — and it redefined her whole notion of bargain shopping.

Several states are rushing to establish a foothold in online gambling — an activity that federal officials were only recently trying to ban.

Just a while ago, the federal government actually viewed online gambling as a crime. Lately, the Obama administration has taken a more permissive stance. It now allows states to sell lottery tickets online.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had expressed reservations about online gambling a month ago and had vetoed an earlier version of the bill. But in the end, the pressure to sign the legislation was just too great.

The Justice Department said Tuesday it could seek more than $5 billion in damages from Standard & Poor's, the nation's biggest credit ratings company, a day after it sued the company, alleging that S&P defrauded investors by giving triple-A ratings to risky subprime mortgage investments.

The Justice Department may seek as much as $5 billion from Standard and Poor's. In a lawsuit filed Monday night, prosecutors accuse the firm of misleading investors with fraudulent credit ratings on dozens of different mortgage bonds. It's not yet clear whether federal officials plan to file a similar suit against the other big rating firms, Moody's and Fitch. Regulators would like to see the industry be more competitive and less dependent on the firms whose securities they are rating.

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The U.S. Justice Department plans to file a civil suit this week accusing the credit rating company Standard and Poor's of fraud. Standard and Poor's is the company that famously downgraded U.S. debt in 2011. This investigation focuses on S and P's actions before the financial crisis. The civil action accuses S and P of fraudulently inflating the ratings of mortgage investments, setting them up for the crash that lead to the great recession. The investigation is the focus of today's Business Bottom Line, and here's NPR's Jim Zarroli.

The economy shrank a bit in the fourth quarter and analysts are trying to figure out why. It's clear that declines in business inventories and government spending played a role, but was the real problem the narrowly averted fiscal cliff?

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Let's try again, shall we, to explain what it means when we hear that the U.S. economy shrank in the fourth quarter of 2012. As we've discussed elsewhere in the program, the decline was slight - just one-tenth of a percentage point - but it is the first contraction of the economy since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. NPR's Jim Zarroli is with us once again in New York. Jim, good morning.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Good morning.

Moves taken by Japan's central bank are raising fears that the world could face what's called a "currency war." The measures, announced Tuesday, are designed to flood Japan's moribund economy with money and encourage businesses and consumers to spend more.

Steps like these have been tried again and again by countries all over the world — including the U.S. — in recent years, with mixed success.

What's Wrong With Pouring Money Into The Problem?

The prime minister of Algeria is defending his government's response to last week's attack on a natural gas plant that left 37 hostages dead. He says the Islamic militants who were behind the attack planned to blow up the facility and would have killed a lot more people if they hadn't been stopped.

The attack happened at a huge, internationally operated facility in the Sahara. And it underscores the dangers that energy companies face when they do business in politically unstable places.

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You heard the president acknowledge that in some parts of the country - and more specifically, some congressional districts - gun ownership is stronger than in other parts of the country. He would need allies in those places to overcome or persuade the gun industry and its lobbying groups. Industry officials are ready to fight.

As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, some of the proposals, especially a ban on assault weapons, could take a bite out of gun-makers' revenue.

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Wal-Mart said today that it will soon begin offering a job to any newly discharged veteran who wants one. The offer comes at a time when new veterans are having a tough time finding work. Also, Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon promised the company will increase the amount of products it buys from domestic sources.

NPR's Jim Zarroli tells us more about both announcements.

Banking regulators are telling JPMorgan Chase that it must take action to improve its risk analysis and money-laundering controls. The bank racked up a $6 billion trading loss last year. CEO Jamie Dimon cited managerial lapses and called the loss inexcusable.

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Five years ago today, Bank of America announced it was buying the troubled subprime mortgage lender Countrywide Financial for $40 billion. At the time, the financial crisis had not fully revealed itself, and many people thought Bank of America was getting a good deal. Instead, the acquisition has turned into a never-ending legal and financial nightmare. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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Some other news: Some of the biggest banks in the country have agreed to pay more than $18 billion to settle allegations of wrongdoing in their mortgage lending. That's today's "Business Bottom Line."

Bank of America said yesterday it would pay more than $10 billion to the mortgage company Fannie Mae because of bad loans sold during the housing boom. And in a separate settlement, 10 banks agreed to pay more than $8 billion in total, to settle claims that they made errors in foreclosing on people's homes. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

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I'm Robert Siegel. And here's a case of an old business colossus buying up a scrappy innovator. Avis, the traditional car rental company, is buying Zipcar for $500 million. Zipcar is the car-sharing company with the slogan: Wheels when you want them. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports the deal illustrates how car sharing is reshaping the rental business and drawing in a new demographic.

The U.S. economy grew at a steady though not very strong pace this year. But Europe slipped back into recession because of the ongoing debt crisis. European leaders took steps to stimulate growth, but it wasn't enough to reverse course.

The economic crisis that got under way five years ago was felt all over the world. But Mohammed El-Erian, CEO of the investment firm PIMCO, says different regions have healed at much different rates.

The year "2012 was another multispeed world globally, in the sense that different parts did different things," he says.

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After more than two centuries as an independent company, the New York Stock Exchange is about to change hands. It's being acquired by Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, or ICE, as part of a deal valued at $8.2 billion. In recent years, ICE has exploded in growth.

And as NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, today's announcement is the latest in a series of rapid-fire changes that have transformed the world of stock trading.

Newtown, Conn., is a white-collar community an hour and a half northeast of New York City. It's the kind of place where crime is rare and the biggest thing that happens each year is the Labor Day parade.

Now the peace and quiet has been shattered, and residents are trying to make sense of what's happened.

Hours after the shootings that left so many people dead, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church opened its doors for a prayer vigil. People filed through the streets and past houses decorated with Christmas lights.

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And I'm Audie Cornish. It is the biggest penalty ever paid by a bank to the U.S. government. HSBC, a British company, will hand over $1.9 billion to settle a money laundering case. The Justice Department says HSBC violated the bank secrecy act and the trading with the enemy act by doing business with the likes of Iran.

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British banking giant, HSBC, will pay 1.9 billion dollars to the U.S. to settle allegations of money laundering. In a statement released overnight, the bank said it accepts responsibility for past mistakes. U.S. officials will have further details of the settlement later today. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

Tax increases are only a part of what lies ahead if Congress can't come to an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff by the new year. Massive spending cuts will also kick in — and those cuts will be felt throughout the economy.

The current stalemate got under way two years ago when Congress, locked in a bitter partisan battle over whether to extend the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, passed what was known as the Budget Control Act of 2011.

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NPR's business news starts with questions for Chinese regulators.

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The United States has accused five Chinese auditing firms of violating U.S. securities laws. A lawsuit says the auditors are refusing to turn over documents tied to companies that the U.S. wants to investigate.

NPR's Jim Zarroli has the story.

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Cyber Monday saw a big retail push following a Black Friday that expanded into Thanksgiving Day. The big question now is whether all the early shopping will boost total holiday sales or just push them up earlier on the calendar.

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