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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.

Pamela Byrd to discuss finding your path

Pamela Byrd to discuss finding your path

ATLANTA -- Learn more about the 3 Keys to Becoming a Confident Woman and the Logistics of Life.

Pamela is an advocate for human potential with an unwavering commitment to assisting women in their quest toward achieving something more. She has a distinct gift for helping others to uncover their value and regain their warrior status to move toward achieving their life’s goals. 

Pamela provides several backdrops for helping women to uncover their value.  She conducts boundary development seminars and journaling workshops throughout the Atlanta area, facilitates virtual Journaling Groups and weaves journal writing into every aspect of her coaching as a form of self-reflection, discovery and empowerment.

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. 

Get involved with the Atlanta Junior Chamber International

Get involved with the Atlanta Junior Chamber International

ATLANTA -- With the beginning of a new year and New Year’s resolutions on the rise, many people may be asking what next? The Junior Chamber International of Atlanta is answering just that. JCI-Atlanta offers a wide range of opportunities and events such as community service, networking, personal development, happy hours, trips, international relations, and more.

The next event, the General Membership Meeting, will take place on Tuesday, January 22 from 6:00-8:30pm at Park Tavern in Piedmont Park. The public is invited to join the Jaycees for an hour of networking, followed by announcements and keynote speaker, Phil Minnes.

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.

Higher pay for DeKalb school administrators draws fire

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Just a few months ago, DeKalb County's School Board was cutting millions from its budget and eliminating jobs.

Now some are wondering how they can approve raises for 4 top school administrators, especially with very little public notice.

"We didn't even have a full board to even vote on the decision to give those particular people raises," DeKalb County parent Cheryl Miller told 11Alive News.

The community school activist accuses the school system of pulling a fast one.

They only gave a few hours notice that the salary hikes would be on the agenda for a Monday meeting attended by only five of nine board members.

At the request of new Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, the board voted 3-to-2 to give higher salaries to four of her top administrators, ranging from $3,400 to $4,000 a year more.