Los Angeles Business Journal

Former Thrift Officially Vaults Into Banking World

LENDING: OneWest’s switch in charter could presage initial public offering.

It’s official: Pasadena’s OneWest Bank actually is a bank. And now Los Angeles County’s third largest by assets.

This Dog Has His Day Every Day at Law Firm

There’s one partner at Westwood law firm Liner who’s such an institution that he’s actually written into the terms of the lease.

Special Report Banking & Finance: More Money Men

As wealth rebounds, so has wealth management. Banks, breakaway firms and out-of-towners are all clamoring to manage the money of L.A.’s elite now that cash is coming off the sidelines.

INVESTMENT: L.A’s growing concentration of wealthy investors is creating a new wave of money managers.

He Wasn’t Ready to Sell, Until ...

FIRM: Todd Morgan and his partners weren’t ready to sell their firm. Then they found out how much they could get.

Taking Stock

banking: Local lenders wait and weigh value of joining new over-the-counter market specifically for banks.

BANKING – L.A. institutions are waiting and weighing potential returns of joining a new over-the-counter market for banks.

Trying to Create Initiatives to Benefit Investors

PROFILE: Steve Lockshin sees rich possibilities in steering brokerage customers to agnostic advisers.

Tech Investor Stays Linked To Pitch Event

Jamie Montgomery sells bank but holds on to its conference.

INVESTMENT: Jamie Montgomery found it too tough to break connections with his former bank’s tech conference.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Sunnie S. Kim

Making Her Mark In America

When Sunnie S. Kim left South Korea in 1974, it was a society that would have locked her out of nearly any career.

New Broker-Dealer Welcomes EB-5 Visa Program

INVESTMENT: Trevor Saliba sees opening for licensed operator as money pours in.

Foreigners who put money into American enterprises in exchange for green cards through the federal EB-5 visa program have enjoyed the same protections from scammers that safeguard other investors.

Going Beyond Low Cash Flow

Ten years ago, when Jeff Friedman and Mark Zytko were trying to secure their first deal, they had a nearly empty office, one employee and no track record.

The Un-Bankers

Special Report: Who’s Who in Banking & Finance

Business Journal spotlights nonbank execs who provide business loans that institutions can’t or won’t.

Catering to Companies Too Small for Bonds

“There’s always money available,” says Howard Levkowitz, “but not always for what people want.”

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Investment Bank OKs Buyer With Stake in State

ACQUISITION: De La Rosa sees pickup by Stifel boosting its public bond business.

The partners at Century City investment bank and bond underwriter De La Rosa & Co. had wanted to sell to a bigger firm for a few years, and they’d had offers.

Mixed Match

Banks never loaned to tech startups – until now

LENDING: Commercial banks hook up with tech startups through venture loans to be repaid after future funding rounds.

When Will Space Traveler Finally Fly?

Rene Kaerskov is hoping the Federal Aviation Administration will soon clear Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to take tourists to space.

Reform Minded

Non-profit: Homeboy Industries’ new chief executive aims to make the gang rehabilitation program more self-sufficient.

Non profit: New CEO looks to reform rehabilitation-focused Homeboy Industries into a more self-supporting business.

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New Interest

Investor says it’s finally time to bet on L.A. banking

California Business Bank’s owner looks to be L.A.’s first new player in banking in almost five years.

Top Three L.A. Banks Report Strong Earnings

Last year was a good one for Los Angeles County’s big banks, as the three biggest local lenders all reported solid earnings for 2013. All announced growing profits, assets and loan volumes.

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Namvar Victims Say They’re Being Ripped Off Again

Bankruptcy: Creditors protest as lawyers, others submit huge bills.

Ezri Namvar’s investors were ripped off when his Ponzi scheme collapsed, and now they say they’re getting shorted again by the professionals in charge of recovering their money.

Fundraiser Ready to Sit and Spin

Tour de Pier to set up stationary bikes by beach for benefit.

Tour de Pier offers a different spin on cancer fundraisers with its stationary-bike benefit by the beach.

Fundless Firms Hunt for Money

Investments: Diversis found target then lined up backing.

Investment: No money was no problem when fundless sponsor Diversis Capital went looking for its first deal.

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High Times

Soaring stock mints first legal pot billionaire

Marijuana dispensing machine maker Medbox has turned into a pot of gold for its newly minted billionaire owner.

Checking Into History

Beverly Hills hotels to mark city’s centennial with themed rooms.

Hospitality – Beverly Hills hotels make room for the city’s centennial with themed décor based on different decades.

Buyout Firm Molds Deals for European Plastic

Investment: OpenGate sees cars, homebuilding driving up market.

The folks at Century City buyout shop OpenGate Capital think Europe’s automotive and homebuilding industries are primed for recovery, so they’ve lately been investing in manufacturers of plastics that go into cars and houses there, announcing three deals in the European plastics market last year.

Mobile Wallet App Whips Out the Plastic

Finance: Wipit looks to connect to underbanked with cards.

Finance – App developer Wipit issues debit cards to spur customers to open their mobile wallets.

Banking On Paper

Printing: Superior Press changes checks when lenders merge or are acquired.

Printing – Superior Press has built up a lengthy paper trail redoing checks for acquired and merged banks

Golden Triangle Parcel Could Land Record Price

Real Estate: Property in Beverly Hills pitched for hotel-condo development.

Real Estate – Price for Beverly Hills lot could step into the history books as L.A.’s biggest on a per-foot basis

School of Platinum

Tom Gores’ firm Platinum Equity may be best known as one of L.A.’s most prominent buyout shops, but it’s also become an academy of sorts – many associates have graduated to start their own private equ

Investment – Working at Platinum Equity has paid dividends for former execs who launched their own firms

OpenGate Acquires Another Plastics Business

Century City’s OpenGate Capital said Friday that it had won a bid to take over bankrupt European plastics manufacturer Kem One SAS, its third deal in the European plastics market this year.

Scanner Maker Loses Baggage

Security: Questions over Chinese parts cost OSI contract.

Security: OSI baggage-scanner contract falls to pieces over concern for the machines’ use of a Chinese-made part.

Financial Institutions Fight to Get Handle on Name

Lending: South Korean bank wins court round on use of ‘Hana.’

In Japanese it means “flower.” In Korean, it translates as “No. 1” or “first.”

Aecom Names CEO Successor

Mike Burke will take over in March as chief executive of downtown L.A. engineering and technical services firm Aecom Technology Corp., the company announced Wednesday.

Leonard Green to Buy Lucky Brand Jeans

Leonard Green & Partners, the Westwood private equity firm that already has investments in retailers J. Crew and London’s Topshop, is getting deeper into denim, planning to buy Lucky Brand Jeans from New York’s publicly traded Fifth & Pacific Cos. for $225 million.

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Investment Fund Banks on Mom, Pop

Lending: High-interest loans to small businesses yield big returns.

Direct Lending Investments is doing well as it buys up high-interest loans made to mom-and-pop businesses.

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Bank Grabs More Branch Space But Not Deposits

LENDING: Chase No. 1 in number of outposts but its market share declines.

JPMorgan Chase has branched out to have the most L.A. outposts, but still lags bank rivals on deposits

Lender Brings In ‘Suspicious Activity’ Consultant

Rugulation: Hire by 1st Century to review money-laundering policies.

Century City’s 1st Century Bank is taking a hard look at its money-laundering policies after federal bank regulators ordered a review.

Port of Los Angeles Makes Waves With Rebates

Shipping: Program to attract alliances may start price war with Long Beach.

Shipping: Port of Los Angeles hopes to make waves by offering rebates to cargo companies.

Earnings Roundup: Hudson Pacific, Kennedy-Wilson, Live Nation

Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. reported wider losses after markets closed Monday, though the publicly traded real estate trust beat Wall Street expectations.

Payday Lenders Could Cost Bank

Banking: Federal fraud review may hold up sale by parent.

Banking: Federal review of payday-lender payment processing by National Bank of California may slow its sale.

Meet Broker and Crime Fighter

At the end of a long work week, broker Carter Magnin doesn’t unwind with his fellow real estate buddies by going to the latest hot restaurant or bar.

Bad Bonds From Wedbush Pay Off For Former Broker

Arbitrators order Wedbush to pay its former broker $4 million for pushing bad bonds.

City National Profit Beats Expectations

City National Bank’s corporate parent reported solid earnings, with profits higher than analysts expected.


BBCN Bancorp has reported growing profits, with net income of $23.5 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

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Investment Pays Project Rewards

ENGINEERING: Aecom gets jobs on developments it co-funds.

Aecom builds up its project list by co-funding developments through its investment arm.

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Pouring In Dollars

First Beverage taps maker of tea drink kombucha for its debut investment.

First Beverage Ventures sees kombucha maker Health-Ade as its cup of tea.

Profits Rise at East West

Pasadena’s East West Bancorp Inc. late Wednesday reported earnings just shy of Wall Street expectations.

Activists May Hold Up Lender’s Big Acquisition

BANKING: PacWest’s bid to pay $2.3 billion for CapitalSource questioned.

Community-minded groups look to mount hefty opposition to PacWest’s big deal to buy CapitalSource.

Thrift Charters Future as Bank

LENDING: OneWest would become L.A.’s second biggest.

Charter change would vault L.A.’s biggest thrift, OneWest, into this market’s second-biggest bank.

Bond-Focused Firm Pursues Alternative Strategies

INVESTMENT: TCW buys Craton as means to grow and diversify assets.

Most of the assets managed by downtown L.A.’s TCW Group Inc. are invested in bonds, but the firm has been working for the past year to build up assets invested in its so-called alternative strategies – private equity, direct lending and distressed debt.

Made Wave

CPA Russ Lesser helped Body Glove International make splash as wetsuit maker and brand licensor.

Accountant Russ Lesser caught the big wave when he joined wetsuit maker Body Glove International.