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Local nonprofits gain grant to help domestic violence victims in Georgia

Local nonprofits gain grant to help domestic violence victims in Georgia

ATLANTA -- The Judicial Council of Georgia Domestic Violence Committee awarded a grant on Friday that will go towards the work of nine nonprofit organizations in and near Atlanta. 

The grant of almost $1.6 million will help bring legal services to around 4,500 people with low income around Georgia who have suffered from domestic violence and are working to bounce back. A spokeswoman for the Judicial Council reported that the funds are given each year to develop domestic violence training and legal services for victims.

According to the spokeswoman, not included are divorces, deportations and other matters which are not related with the victim's safety, along with economic security. 

CEO chosen for Atlanta BeltLine development firm

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. Board of Directors has named transportation and development consultant Paul Morris as its CEO.

Officials said Wednesday that Morris has nearly 30 years of international experience in positions related to transportation, urban redevelopment, natural resource management, public parks and more.

Before being named Atlanta BeltLine CEO, Morris served as deputy secretary for the North Carolina Department of Transportation and did consulting work for an investment firm before that.

City officials say the Atlanta BeltLine is a redevelopment project that will create a network of public parks and multi-use trails along a 22-mile railroad corridor that encircles many of the city's neighborhoods.

Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams retires

ATLANTA - Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams announced his retirement on Tuesday. According to a release, he told the Chamber's executive committee he will retire at the end of 2013 or when a replacement is hired.

Williams has served as the Chamber's president since December 1996, and had been at the forefront of a number of initiatives, including helping the city meet the standards of the Clean Water Act, to helping to attract more high tech, logistics and bioscience firms to Metro Atlanta.

At 68, Williams has served three years beyond the commitment he made in 1996 to serve until age 65. At the encouragement of the Chamber's executive committee, Williams has agreed to extend his contract until the end of the year, or until a replacement can be hired in 2014.

JP Morgan Chase, Brookings Institution start Global Cities Initiative in Atlanta

JP Morgan Chase, Brookings Institution start Global Cities Initiative in Atlanta

(ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE) -- Metro Atlanta leaders will seek to grow the region's global business opportunities through a new initiative kicked off Wednesday by JP Morgan Chase and the Brookings Institution.

The Global Cities Initiative, which is part of a five-year, $10 million multi-city effort ultimately will forge new city-to-city partnerships to create trade and economic relationships to prosper from the growing urbanization of the world's population. 

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said the initiative takes advantage of growing businesses through exporting and by recognizing that the "Made in USA" brand is becoming increasingly valuable in the world. 

The two-day conference, held at the Academy of Medicine on the Georgia Tech Campus, will lead to a new Metropolitan Export Plan for Atlanta. 

Bank of America adds 35 small biz bankers in Atlanta

Bank of America adds 35 small biz bankers in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Bank of America Corp. reported Wednesday it hit its target of hiring more that 1,000 small business bankers in 2012, including 35 in Metro Atlanta.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank said it extended $280.2 million in credit to Georgia small businesses and $8.7 billion nationally last year. The $8.7 billion was an increase of 28 percent over 2011.

It recently reported net income of $2.8 billion for 2012. It also saw its head count shrink by about 5,000 employees to 267,190 in the fourth quarter, evidence that BofA is still trimming staff levels as it works to lower its expenses. Branches also continued to close, with BofA reporting 5,478 banking centers across its U.S. franchise at the end of the year, down from 5,702 centers a year earlier. 

Bank of America is the third-largest bank in metro Atlanta with 145 local branches and $20.4 billion in area deposits for a market share of 17 percent. 

Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton sue HSBC over predatory lending

Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton sue HSBC over predatory lending

ATLANTA -- Three Atlanta-area counties have filed a lawsuit claiming that British bank HSBC engaged in predatory lending that ended up costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties say the bank aggressively signed minorities to housing loans that were likely to fail. The counties say it caused tremendous damage, including extra expenses and lost tax revenue.

The lawsuit says the banks violated the Fair Housing Act, which provides protections against housing or renting policies or practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap.

A lawyer for HSBC said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in October. A federal judge has given the bank until Jan. 25 to file a response.

Dept. of Labor launches system to improve unemployment insurance

Dept. of Labor launches system to improve unemployment insurance

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Labor recently rolled out a new electronic system designed to increase efficiency and reduce costs of operating the state's unemployment insurance program.

Georgia is one of 10 states to adopt the State Information Data Exchange (SIDES) E-response. It allows employers to respond promptly to the Department of Labor when a former worker files an unemployment claim, according to state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler.

"This new online capability is part of our continuing effort to make the Georgia Department of Labor more user-friendly and technologically up-to-date," Butler said in a statement. "This will significantly speed communications between the labor department and employers. At the same time, it will help prevent some overpayments to people who might not be eligible for benefits, saving us from having to go back and try to collect money from ineligible applicants."