Los Angeles Business Journal

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Checking In

Bank-investor Don Griffith looks to repeat his success after the savings and loan collapse by guiding Grandpoint’s acquisition of today’s busted banks.

World traveler Don Griffith now sees a lot of returns as CEO of bank-acquiring Grandpoint Capital.

Institution’s Prospects Looking Up on Eve of Union

BANKING & FINANCE: Nara raises $55 million, beats quarter’s Wall Street expectations.

Things are looking up for Nara Bank on the eve of its highly anticipated merger.

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Former IndyMac Executive Seeks to Connect Online

Michael Perry uses website to defend his term at failed lender.

IndyMac’s under siege former chief exec launches website to tell his side of the bank’s collapse.

WESTSIDE: Sun Still Shines in Santa Monica As Firms Fight for Office Space

Special Report: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in each commercial submarket in the third quarter.

New Companies Lean on Older Funds for Money

BANKING & FINANCE: Shortage of new blood could mean lack of future financing.

Venture capital investment in L.A. companies was up sharply in the third quarter, but not everyone is ready to celebrate the news.

Big Banks Wary of Plan For Grades From Council

City’s rating of local impact could benefit some smaller institutions.

L.A. city proposal to grade financial institutions on their local connections has divided big and small banks.

Getting Ready for Another Big Ride

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Kevin Korenthal never shies away from a challenge.

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Investors Take Shine to Bank’s Effort to Clean Up

A target for takeover last year, more steady Hanmi adds staff.

Koreatown’s Hanmi stock is rising and staff expanding only a year after facing collapse.

Credit Unions May Capitalize From Facebook Post

BANKING & FINANCE: L.A.-area art gallery owner spurs drive to ditch big banks.

Credit unions say they have seen a surge this month in inquiries from prospective members looking to leave big banks.

Santa Anita’s Money Back on Horses

Track looks to spur racing after mall plan flops.

Santa Anita Park bets on social and new media to boost business after plans for mall at horse track fall apart.

Bank of America to Shut Down Mortgage Division

BANKING & FINANCE: More than half of unit’s 1,200 employees work in greater L.A. area.

The decision by Bank of America Corp. last week to shutter a unit of its mortgage lending business is expected to hit Southern California particularly hard.

Small-Business Loans Have Little Impact in L.A.

BANKING & FINANCE: Area institutions receive only $61 million from federal program.

The government gave out the final round of funds under its highly touted small-business loan program that closed last week, but don’t expect much of an impact in Los Angeles.

Experience Drives Auto Site

Cancer survivor and war veteran linked up to launch AutoRef.com.

After battling cancer and Afghan rebels, the co-founders of AutoRef.com found it easy to launch a car-buying site.

Taking Credit for Your Credibility

Malibu firm minds other businesses’ online reps.

A web entrepreneur boosts his profile with a company that tracks both a business’s credit and online reputation.

Red Hot Time In Sicily

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Being woken up by an erupting volcano sounds scary, but for Adriana Kahane, it is just a hazard of her business.

Who Is Saeid Aminpour?

Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY

Saeid “Steve” Aminpour banked on his Iranian-American community connections to boost Wilshire’s business.

Risky Business

Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY

Outside business pursuits by a former chief marketing officer and his relationship with the then-CEO has brought federal investigations, shareholder lawsuits and chaos to Koreatown’s Wilshire State Bank.

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Corporate Credit Union’s Capital Plan Falls Short

BANKING & FINANCE: WesCorp in San Dimas to shutter and sell off business.

WesCorp’s long saga is finally coming to an end – and it’s not exactly a happy one.

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Analysts Give Some Credit to Debit Card Company

BANKING & FINANCE: Green Dot seen as likely purchaser of competitor NetSpend.

Could Green Dot Corp., which is already the nation’s largest issuer of prepaid debit cards, be ready to take an even bigger slice of the pie?

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Steven Streit: Card Player

Green Dot CEO, who went from radio DJ to creator of the prepaid debit card, leads an active dating life after shedding 140 pounds.

Former radio DJ Steven Streit scored his biggest hit as the creator of prepaid debit cards.

Sour Loans to Churches Lead Bank to Shut Branches

Pressure from regulators also drives Broadway to raise capital.

Broadway Federal will shutter branches and work to raise capital as it copes with a shaky portfolio of real estate loans.

Coming Back Into Fashion

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As president of the California Fashion Association, Ilse Metchek doesn’t go many places without dressing to the nines.

Terminal Revival Brings Life to LAX

Airlines’ fight for Bradley space lifts airport.

Renovations at LAX’s Bradley terminal have allowed airport passenger traffic to take off.

Labor Day May Open IPO Window for L.A. Firm

BANKING & FINANCE: Analyst expects holiday cool-off to aid downtown’s Oaktree.

One of L.A.’s largest financial institutions is trying to go public during one of the most violent market maelstroms in recent memory, but analysts say there isn’t reason to panic – yet.

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Stockbrokers Say Customers Grin and Bear Market

BANKING & FINANCE: Diverse portfolios credited with keeping mood calm.

Despite wild swings in the financial markets last week, a number of local investment professionals said the mood among their clients has remained remarkably calm.

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Local Businessman Courts NBA Fame

Buying Hawks a big jump for Alex Meruelo.

Downey businessman Alex Meruelo has taken wing with his purchase of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

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Bank’s SoCal Branches Reach Out to ‘Community’

BANKING & FINANCE: Banco Popular hopes new name nets non-Spanish speakers.

What’s in a name? Well, if you ask some bank customers, a lot.

‘Six Degrees of Carl Terzian’

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Joe Cilic, an executive with Sotheby’s International Realty in Brentwood, had heard the name of Lucie Barron through a mutual acquaintance.

L.A. Companies’ Public Perception Gets a Boost

BANKING & FINANCE: IPO filings picked up in second quarter following sluggish first.

After several stops and starts over the past few years, L.A.’s IPO market is showing signs of healthy activity, according to a new report.

Some Don’t See 99 Cents as Deal

But discounter may be Leonard Green’s next buy.

Shareholders of Leonard Green are discounting the firm’s move to acquire the 99 Cents Only chain.

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Regulators’ Latest Lawsuit May Break Execs’ Way

Analyst sees new filing possibly undercutting suit against WesCorp execs.

U.S. regulators’ new lawsuit may undermine a previous suit against the former execs of failed thrift WesCorp.

Venture Capital Fails to Come Out in Second Quarter

BANKING & FINANCE: Lack of IPOs could be holding back money for startups.

Venture capital investment in Los Angeles was sluggish in the past quarter, according to a pair of reports released last week, but experts say there is reason to be hopeful that the sector can make a comeback.

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Supplement Maker Joins the Clubs

Storefront model pumps up Herbalife sales.

A new distribution system – selling single servings at clubs in storefronts – has strengthened the revenue of nutritional supplement maker Herbalife.

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L.A. County in Limbo as Pace of Recovery Slows

Special Report: REAL ESTATE QUARTERLY

Major events in Los Angeles County commercial and industrial submarkets in the second quarter.

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Investment Officer Buys Into Running His Own Firm

BANKING & FINANCE: Jeffrey Bronchick forms Cove Street after former employer merges.

After his longtime employer got swallowed up by a bigger fish, Jeffrey Bronchick decided to swim out on his own.

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Money Machine

Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY

OneWest investors are reaping billions from the bones of IndyMac thanks to unusually generous terms from the FDIC, which is on the hook to help cover many of the busted thrift’s loans.

Koreatown Institution’s Capital Idea Falls Apart

BANKING & FINANCE: Hanmi had hoped to sell a stake to South Korean company.

When Hanmi Bank announced last week that it had ended its tentative agreement to sell a majority stake to a South Korean financial conglomerate, the move threw its future – and that of the local Korean-American banking industry – into uncertain territory.

Sailing on Downtown’s Waters

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When Joel Miller vacationed across the pond several years ago, he returned with the most unlikely of souvenirs: a paper boat race.

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Prepaid Card King Draws a Big Rival

American Express a threat to Green Dot’s top spot.

Analysts expect American Express to swipe more than a little business from prepaid debit card leader Green Dot.

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OneWest Won’t Be a Home for Mortgages Only

Special Report: BANKING & FINANCE QUARTERLY

OneWest homes in on a business model that downplays mortgage loans.

Regional Credit Union Megamerger in the Works

BANKING & FINANCE: Kinecta plans to join forces with NuVision for economies of scale.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union of Manhattan Beach filed an application with regulators last week for a proposed megamerger with Huntington Beach’s NuVision Federal Credit Union.

L.A. Institutions Shed Red With First Quarter Gains

BANKING & FINANCE: Problem loan levels fell as assets and net income increased.

The past few years have been unexpectedly tough for the local credit union industry, but experts say it may finally be finding its footing.

Small-Business Loans Make a Big Comeback in L.A.

BANKING & FINANCE: Wilshire and Center Financial are among top SBA lenders in U.S.

Several local banks are taking advantage of a rising demand for small-business loans to increase their national profiles.

From Big Screen to Soul Dogs

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When Don Scott moved to Los Angeles 17 years ago, he dreamed of making it big in both the entertainment and business worlds.

Florida Investigating Green Dot, Other Prepaid Debit Companies

The Florida Attorney General’s office announced an investigation of Green Dot Corp. and four other prepaid debit card providers for possible deceptive and unfair practices.

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Keep It in The Family?

Special Report: Wealthiest Angelenos | Ultrawealthy parents face tough decisions about whether to give their children the keys to the family business.

Wealthy parents often struggle with striking a balance between coddling and inspiring their children

Waiting For an Inheritance? It May Be a Long Time Coming

Special Report: Wealthiest Angelenos

Children of the ultrawealthy might want to start saving up their allowances.

Disclosures Rock Wilshire Bancorp

Koreatown titan’s stature and stock price take a dive.

Problems with Wilshire Bancorp’s loan underwriting has further undermined the once admired institution.

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Investment Adviser Handles Inheritances With Kid Gloves

Special Report: Wealthiest Angelenos

Wealth adviser helps clients cultivate family and money trees.

Failed Corporate Credit Union Banks on New Board

Ex-directors of WesCorp still fighting billion-dollar lawsuit.

A failed corporate credit union has named new directors even as former ones face a lawsuit over its collapse.