Los Angeles Business Journal

Hanmi Financial Corp. Acquires United Central Bank

Koreantown bank holding company Hanmi Financial Corp. completed its acquisition of United Central Bank of Garland, Texas, over the weekend in a deal that gives Hanmi a presence in Illinois, Texas and Virginia.

Snack Maker Chips In With Healthy Line

Quest Nutrition’s new products offer buyers taste of protein.

Quest Nutrition hopes for healthy returns from its new milk protein-based chips.

Wedbush Responds to Regulatory Complaint

Downtown stock brokerage Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles has responded to a financial industry group’s allegations of problems in its market access operations over the past several years.

Case Maker Has Luggage In the Bag

Pelican Products looks to secure new market with sturdy approach.

Security case maker Pelican Products has a brand new bag: luggage.

Ratings Agency Plans to Test Insurers’ Reserves

INSURANCE: CEO at parent of companies says rapid growth helped spur review.

Two insurance companies owned by Malibu billionaire Don Hankey are under review by ratings agency A.M. Best Co., which said it is concerned that the insurers might not have enough reserves to keep pace with their growth.

Banks Now Seek More of CEOs

LENDING: Longer deals take hold at Koreatown institutions.

Some Koreatown banks have broken with a long tradition of short contracts for CEOs.

Great American Reports Smaller Loss

Great American Group lost money in the quarter ended June 30, but it indicated Thursday that it could swing to a profit now that it’s combined with West L.A. investment bank and brokerage B. Riley & Co.

Surf Air Announces Expansion

Santa Monica startup airline Surf Air has announced big expansion plans, including the addition of as 15 new planes to its fleet and as many as 13 new destinations.

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Betting on Risk

LENDING: Celtic Capital spins off from bank parent PacWest in order to maintain focus on high-risk asset-based loans.

Principals at newly spun-off Celtic Capital see the risky asset-based loan business as a safe bet.

Brand Licensor’s Shares Climb as Dividends Fall

APPAREL: Cherokee’s expansion plan proves good fit on Wall Street.

Brand licensor Cherokee’s expansion plan grows on investors despite a dip in dividends.

Sharing Athletic Spirit

From soap opera extra to crew director, Steven Barber has had every job in the “biz” over the past 25 years.

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Pest Control On Wing And Preyer

Isotech uses falcons, hawks to chase birds from client properties.

Isotech looks to feather its nest by offering falcons and hawks to chase off pesky birds at client properties.

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Money Managers Hit Tech Circuit

INVESTMENT: Many cultivate young CEOs before they’re rich.

Money managers look to get a jump on future millions by hooking up with tech entrepreneurs before they’ve raised any funds.

Molina Net Income Falls Short

Molina Healthcare Inc. reported meager earnings after markets closed Wednesday, falling well short of Wall Street expectations on profits.

Credit Union Channels TV Spotlight

SCE Federal staff takes turns offering financial tips on daily program.

SCE Federal Credit Union hopes its star rises with employees’ daily appearances on TV show “Tu Mundo Hoy!”

Advocacy Group Casts Lot With Former Mayor

LENDING: Non-profit seeks Villaraigosa’s help on local impact of bank acquisition.

An advocacy group protesting a local bank transaction wants former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to broker a deal and end the dispute.

Why Rival Banks Put Money in East L.A. Lender

BANKING: Investment in Pan American could pay off in public-service benefits.

Investing institutions expect to buoy their business by sinking $6.3 million into floundering Pan American.

City National Beats Expectations

City National Corp. reported strong second-quarter earnings after markets closed Thursday, posting net income of $66.7 million ($1.11 a share), up 12 percent over the same period a year ago.

Fellow Lenders Save East L.A’s Pan American Bank

More than a dozen West Coast banks, including eight in Los Angeles County, pumped $6 million of new capital into East L.A. lender Pan American Bank, which was on the verge of being shut down by regulators.

EARNINGS: BBCN, Hanmi, Wilshire

Shares of Koreatown lenders BBCN Bancorp Inc., Hanmi Financial Corp. and Wilshire Bancorp all closed slightly down Tuesday after the three banks reported earnings.

Television-Film Company Makes Noise With Library

MEDIA: Lions Gate among content owners boosted by bid for Time Warner.

Producer-distributor Lions Gate’s star rises on increased demand for TV and movie content.

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Investors Return To Small Banks

FINANCE: Capital raises show strength of once-snubbed sector.

Small lenders look to capitalize on big investors’ surging interest in the sector.

OK, Soccer Break’s Over...

Most bank executives wouldn’t brag about how many of their employees were watching sports during the workday. Then there’s Alan Rothenberg.

Car Lender Eyes Lots of Growth

finance: Westlake expands services to major dealerships.

Subprime auto lender Westlake Financial Services has taken a turn for major dealerships.

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Metal Broker Aims to Take Shine to British Market

GOLD: Rosland Capital to adapt U.S.-centric pitch in hopes of stoking interest.

Expansion into Britain may test the mettle of brokerage Rosland Capital.

City Seeks Receiver for DWP Institutes

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has asked a court to appoint a receiver to oversee the actions of two organizations run by the Department of Water and Power and a local union.

Westwood Law Firm Acquired

Washington law firm Venable has acquired Westwood firm Weingarten Brown, the firms announced Tuesday.

Lender Accuses Ex-Exec Of Working on Its Dime

FINANCE: Monroe Capital says Warren Woo used its assets to set up his business.

Ex-employer of Warren Woo alleges high-profile executive went for broke using its assets to launch firm.

‘Hana Bank’ Battle Faces Supreme Test This Fall

LENDING: High court may decide whether Korean or L.A. business can use name.

Downtown L.A. lender Hana Financial Inc. lost the latest round in its long-running trademark fight with South Korean banking conglomerate Hana Financial Group last year.

Faithful Fan Waits for Cleveland to Rock

On a Thursday in May, Hugh Hewitt was not at the Burbank studio where he records his nationally syndicated radio program or at the downtown Los Angeles law firm offices where he is a partner.

Carson Lender Had Big Role in Somalia Money

International: Small L.A. bank halts remittances to war-ravaged nation.

Carson lender Merchants Bank of California is one of the smallest banks around, but it plays an outsized role in war-ravaged Somalia: The bank processes about two-thirds of the $215 million sent from Somali immigrants in the United States to their relatives back home, according to non-profit groups there.

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Expansion Plans

Engineering: Firms have noticed that there’s plenty of work in Los Angeles, so they’re opening offices and beefing up here.

The development boom is luring out-of-town firms to Los Angeles and leading local firms to expand.

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Bank Scene Rich In Hiring Options

Market consolidation has allowed remaining lenders to fill their executive ranks with top-drawer veterans.

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Taking Stock Of Trades

Brokerage’s app lets family, friends share investment moves social-network style.

Ditto Trade’s app lets friends and family share and share alike by tracking their stock moves.

Payday Loans May Have Cost Bank Needed Sale

LENDING: Borrowers fault National Bank of California for role as processor.

Class-action suits against payday lenders might have stalled a life-saving sale of National Bank of California.

Repo Firm Hopes to Seize Regulation Opportunity

LENDING: Remarketing sees increased need for its services among financial institutions.

One firm’s regulation is another’s windfall.

El Super Workers Picketing

Workers at an El Super grocery store in East Los Angeles picketed Thursday in what could be a prelude to a strike at a handful of the chain’s locations.

Assembly Approves Hollywood Tax Credit Expansion

Trying to match generous tax incentives in other states and keep entertainment production jobs here, the California Assembly on Wednesday approved an expanded version of its tax credit program for the film and television industries.

Giving Some Credit to Philanthropy

Pride looks to swipe customers with card donation program.

Pride Card Services takes credit for donating part of its processing fees to non-profits.

Reversed Course

INVESTMENT: Small private brokerage B. Riley to go public via merger with property appraiser Great American Group.

B. Riley looks to raise its stock by going public through a reverse merger with Great American Group.

Car-Shopping Site Steers Investors Right on IPO

INTERNET: Analyst credits TrueCar for backing off higher price projections.

TrueCar’s shares trade above IPO price after the auto-shopping site put the brakes on higher projections.

Grocers, Union Reach Tentative Deal

Three major grocery store chains and the union representing Southern California grocery workers have reached a tentative deal for a new contract, both sides have announced.

B. Riley Going Public Through Merger

West L.A. brokerage and investment bank B. Riley & Co. is going public in a merger with Great American Group Inc., a Woodland Hills liquidation company.

New York Lender Looks To Move In on Landlords

EXPANSION: FirstKey opens L.A. office to target sector in California, Western states.

FirstKey Lending, a New York firm specializing in loans to owners of single-family rental homes, has opened an L.A. office with plans to build business in California and other Western states.

Sometimes Speaking Loudly Carries Day

Last month’s Walk to End Genocide at Pan Pacific Park drew more than 3,000 people, the largest iteration yet of what has become the biggest annual anti-genocide demonstration in the country.

Counting It Up

In the 20 years since the Business Journal began ranking the richest Angelenos, L.A.’s wealth has migrated from oil and show business to biotech, electric cars and private equity.

Twenty years after the Business Journal’s first list, wealth from tech and private equity are on the rise while show business and real estate have faded.

Concentrated Holdings Can Lead to Boom, Bust

Big stakes in a single business can offer more control but also heightened risk.

15 Charged in Bank Fraud Case

Federal officials have charged 15 people, mostly from Los Angeles, with bank fraud in a $15 million check-kiting scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles announced Wednesday.

Cobbler’s Arty Sneakers Major Step Up

Buyers of Raul Ojeda’s Converse shoes tread into $25,000 territory.

Cobbler Raul Ojeda seeks buyers willing to foot the bill for $25,000 Converse sneakers.

A Deal That Banc of California Couldn’t Pass Up

SALE: Popular’s branches, $2.2 billion in assets, deposits to go to Irvine lender.

After buying two L.A. banks in the past 18 months, Steven Sugarman figured his Banc of California Inc. in Irvine was about done consolidating and ready to focus on organic growth.

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