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The Best and the Worst of the Week 

Zurich Financial Services
will continue to sponsor the Zurich Classic of New Orleans through 2010, extending its sponsorship for two additional years. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced Zurich's extension last week with company CEO James J. Schiro and officials from the Fore!Kids Foundation, which distributes tournament proceeds to more than 40 local charities (representing more than 200,000 local children). The Fore!Kids Foundation raises funds to provide health care, education and hope for children in need.

Liberty Bank & Trust
was named one of the nation's "Top 20" industry earnings performers by the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) in its recent trade magazine. The organization highlighted Liberty's annual year-end ranking based on standard industry performance measures — return on average assets and return on average equity. Liberty, which is headquartered in New Orleans, was hard-hit by Hurricane Katrina but reopened soon after the storm to serve its largely African-American client base.

AIG,
an insurance and financial services giant, has donated $50,000 to launch "ArtBusiness: New Orleans,' a new initiative to help local arts-related businesses and nonprofit organizations. The grant was made to local lender Seedco Financial, which hopes to leverage the money more than five times through low-interest loans to arts-related businesses and nonprofits. Seedco also will provide technical assistance in financial planning, budgeting and marketing for arts-related organizations.

William Michael Noe,
a con artist from Kentucky, posed as a contractor and ripped off at least seven New Orleans homeowners in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by taking advances and then doing little or no work. Noe recently pleaded guilty to contractor fraud and was ordered to start repaying nearly $54,000 to his victims by Aug. 8 — or go to jail for eight years and still repay his victims. Judge Jerome Winsberg told Noe to come up with $20,000 by Aug. 8, and then pay $2,000 a month until all his victims have been made whole.

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