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Unit offers virtual test drive

A subsidiary of DealerTrack Holdings Inc., a Lake Success-based maker of sales software for car dealerships, has introduced a new feature to help market vehicles. Portland, Ore.-based Chrome Systems Inc. is offering dealers access to a comprehensive image gallery: an array of as many as 21 detailed photographs of each vehicle for online sales presentations and ads. "Our new Chrome Image Gallery is the next best thing to a test drive," said Amit Maheshwari, general manager of DealerTrack Data Services. "Chrome's studio-quality multiview and color-matched images deliver the broad coverage and exact angles automotive retailers need . . . to take their listings to the next level of presentation." DealerTrack, with 1,200 employees, provides about 17,000 auto dealerships across the country -- including 180 on Long Island -- with software services such as inventory management and online credit applications. It said last month it is looking to hire 200 people this year and next. -- Joseph Mallia


Freddie wants $6B more in aid

Government-controlled mortgage giant Freddie Mac has requested $6 billion in additional aid after posting a wider loss in the third quarter. Freddie Mac said Thursday that it lost $6 billion, or $1.86 per share, in the July-September quarter, compared with a loss of $4.1 billion, or $1.25 a share, in the same quarter of 2010. Freddie's losses are increasing for two main reasons: Many homeowners are paying less interest because they are able to refinance at lower mortgage rates; and failing and bankrupt mortgage insurers are not paying out as much money when homeowners default. The government rescued McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac and sibling company Fannie Mae in September 2008 after massive losses on risky mortgages threatened to topple them. Taxpayers have spent about $169 billion to rescue Fannie and Freddie, the most expensive bailout of the 2008 financial crisis. The government estimates it could cost up to $51 billion more to support the companies through 2014.-- AP

Kodak patents key to survival

Rochester-based Eastman Kodak Co. says its survival over the next year hinges on its ability to sell its potentially lucrative digital-imaging patents or raise extra funds by selling debt. Its cautionary statement in a securities filing came as the embattled photography pioneer posted a wider loss for the third quarter: $222 million. It says its cash reserves fell almost 10 percent in the quarter. Revenue tumbled 17 percent in the July-September period, with surging sales of inkjet printers more than offset by slumping digital camera and film revenue. Kodak trimmed its full-year outlook, warning that revenue could be 1.5 percent to 4 percent lower than expected and losses might drop to the low end of its previous forecast. Its shares fell 8 cents to $1.12. -- AP

TD Bank hiking checking fees

TD Bank is hiking a variety of service fees on its checking accounts. The bank said Thursday the higher fees on wire transfers, certified checks, money orders and stop-payment fees will take effect next month. It will also start charging $9 after the sixth withdrawal from select savings accounts. The banking industry over the past year has cited new regulations in imposing higher fees and scaling back perks on checking accounts. Customers of TD Bank, for example, already saw their checking account terms change earlier this year. In March the bank hiked the monthly fee on its basic checking account to $3.99, up from $3. But the bank offered a $1 discount to customers who opted for online statements. Cherry Hill, N.J.-based TD, one of the 10 largest banks in the country with 1,200 locations in 15 states, said in a statement that it carefully chose to hike fees that would have the least impact on customers. "We looked to those that were peripheral to them, avoidable, and impacted a limited number of customers," the bank said. -- AP

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