Banking has been the family business for Paul Hudson, chief executive of Broadway Financial Corp., parent of Broadway Federal Bank, an institution founded 65 years ago to serve the bank-poor African-American community of South Los Angeles. Hudson's grandfather, Claude Hudson, was the second president of the bank; he was succeeded by Paul's father, Elbert Hudson. But as a young man, Paul Hudson sought a different path, first as a lawyer and then as a painting contractor. But Hudson eventually felt the pull of the family business and started working at the bank. He swiftly rose through the ranks, becoming president in March 1992. Seven weeks later, the bank's headquarters burned down in the riots that followed the Rodney King verdicts. More recently, the African-American community in South Los Angeles has been wracked by problems from subprime loans and foreclosures, with many victims turning to Broadway Federal for help. Broadway avoided the subprime mess and last week reported strong earnings. Banking is not the only claim to fame for the Hudson family. Paul Hudson's maternal grandfather was famed local architect Paul Williams, who designed many L.A. landmarks including the Los Angeles County Courthouse, the Shrine Auditorium, the LAX Theme Tower and homes for scores of movie stars.
Question: As a young adult, you took a different path from the family banking business. Why? And did you face any pressure to come back to the family business?
No, I didn't face any pressure to go into the banking business. In fact, my family encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. I was a lawyer for nearly a decade, practicing corporate law in (Washington, D.C.). Then an opportunity opened up and I came back out here and practiced law. In the meantime, I helped out managing some of the family properties and started fixing up some of the buildings, mostly painting. Several friends and acquaintances began offering me painting jobs, so I opened up my own paint business.
Q: What made you return to banking?
A: On one particularly hard day, after making only $1.50 an hour, I looked at myself in the mirror and said, "Here I am with a law degree making $1.50 an hour painting. I need to be doing something else with my life." That's when I decided to go back to my roots and get into the banking business. I went to my father (who at the time ran Broadway Federal Bank) and he started me as a teller in the bank.
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