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The 50 Wealthiest Angelenos: Don Hankey

NET WORTH: $1.56 billion

LAST YEAR: Not on list

AGE: 69

RESIDENCE: Malibu

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Auto financing

THE MONEY: Principal owner of eight companies, most in auto and auto-finance business. By far the largest is Westlake Financial Services, provider of subprime auto loans. In 2011, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp. bought 20 percent stake in Westlake for $250 million, valuing Westlake at $1.25 billion – Hankey’s stake at about $800 million. Other Hankey Group companies include an auto dealership, a rental car company, a hard-money lender and a real-estate holding company.

BUZZ: Born and raised in Los Angeles; studied business at USC and spent a few years as stock broker and investment banker. Later took over struggling Ford dealership partially owned by his family, turning it around. In 1978, dealership started providing auto loans to customers. Created Westlake in 1988 as separate finance company; now has more than $500 million in annual revenue, with portfolio of more than 250,000 high-interest auto loans to customers with bad credit. Some of company’s credit lines cut off amid the recession, but Hankey poured money from his other companies into Westlake and watched as revenue more than doubled from 2009 to 2012. Other businesses include Midway Car Rental; North Hollywood Toyota; Knight Insurance; and NowCom, which writes software for used-car dealers. Hankey’s companies have nearly 2,000 employees – including his three adult children. Most employees work in two adjacent office buildings he owns in Mid-Wilshire neighborhood. Hankey and wife, Debbi, live in Malibu at the Xanadu estate, formerly owned by actress Olivia Newton-John. They’re donors to non-profit Friends of Malibu Urgent Care Center, USC and Pepperdine University.

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