Business. Brief.

Chamber CEO Takes Smaller Role; SC Bank Wins Suit Against Larger Bank

By Elwood Hamilton
Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce announced this week that President and CEO Ike McLeese is stepping down from his duties at the end of the year to take a smaller role with the organization. McLeese, who’s been with the Chamber for 19 years, has been recovering from a heart attack that he suffered in early September. His future role with the Chamber will be as a military affairs consultant. McLeese took over in 1994 when the Chamber was $3.8 million in debt and helped it regain its financial footing.

Small Columbia Bank Wins $2.7 Million in Federal Trial

Spartanburg-based First South Bank of Columbia was awarded $2.7 million in damages this week after suffering what it called “gross mismanagement and fraud” at the hands of Fifth Third Bank, a large institution headquartered in Cincinnati. First South and Fifth Third had been locked in a 10-day federal trial before the jury decided to side with the small South Carolina-based bank. First South had loaned $4 million to Fifth Third so that it could refinance a planned North Carolina residential subdivision. A jury found that Fifth Third committed fraud and breach of contract. First South was represented by Collins & Lacy.

State Gets Good Economic Report

After declining for three straight months, the South Carolina Leading Index rebounded in August, according to numbers released by the S.C. Department of Commerce. In what’s a good sign for the Palmetto State economy, August’s index of leading economic indicators was 100.96, gaining 0.29 points. A value of 100 indicates improving economic conditions for the next three to six months. The uptick was attributed to a decline in claims for unemployment insurance, an increase in building permits and an average workweek increase to 40.9 hours.

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