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The newest location for L.A.s bank to the stars? A storefront in a Crenshaw strip mall

2017-06-03 04:30 [BANK] Source:Netword
Guide:City National Bank, known as the bank to the stars for its roster of wealthy Hollywood clients, is opening its newest branch in an unlikely location: a

City National Bank, L.A.’s “bank to the stars,” has branches in Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Westlake Village and — coming soon — a location in a Crenshaw Boulevard strip mall storefront currently occupied by a payday lender.

It’s uncharted territory for an institution that built its business catering to affluent customers but has pledged to boost the amount of lending and services it provides in lower-income and minority neighborhoods — a promise the bank made to regulators when it was acquired by Toronto’s Royal Bank of Canada in 2015.

“We want to make sure African American and Latino entrepreneurs know we want to be there to serve them and to manage their wealth,” said longtime City National Chief Executive Russell Goldsmith, who continues to run the bank following the acquisition. “We want to show, in a very visible way, that we’re open for business.”

Known for its connection to Hollywood businesses and entertainers — it famously lent Frank Sinatra money to pay a ransom for his kidnapped son — City National specializes in serving wealthy clients and business owners, and it has a branch network to match.

You’ll find most City National locations in neighborhoods where wealthy clients live or work.

The new branch, set to open in October on Crenshaw Boulevard a few blocks south of Exposition Boulevard, will focus in particular on mortgages and small-business lending, though Goldsmith said it would provide other services, including personal wealth management — a major City National offering.

“I think our mission is to work with entrepreneurs, small-business owners and homeowners who need help on the way up,” Goldsmith said. “I think it's a service to the broader community to have a proven, responsible bank and wealth-management company there for them.”

L.A.'s 'bank to the stars,' City National Bank, now under Canadian ownership

James Rufus Koren

For the last 40 years, a chief executive named Goldsmith has led downtown L.A.'s City National Bank.Bram Goldsmith steered the financial institution from 1975 until 1995, and his son Russell has been in charge since.But now, for the first time, the Goldsmith at the top of City National has a boss...

For the last 40 years, a chief executive named Goldsmith has led downtown L.A.'s City National Bank.Bram Goldsmith steered the financial institution from 1975 until 1995, and his son Russell has been in charge since.But now, for the first time, the Goldsmith at the top of City National has a boss...

(James Rufus Koren)

To run the branch, City National hired Peter Jackson, 43, an African American business banker who has worked for Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Jackson grew up in nearby Baldwin Hills and lives in the Crenshaw district.

He said a City National Bank branch is the kind of business that many residents have long wanted, and the kind of business that’s usually reserved for tonier neighborhoods.

“In the community, we're always looking for a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe’s, a City National Bank — we're always waiting for things other communities have,” he said.

Paulina Gonzalez, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, which pushes banks to do more lending in lower-income and minority communities, said City National’s move to Crenshaw shows that it is keeping promises made in advance of its acquisition by Royal Bank of Canada.

“Opening a branch in an underserved area — and certainly taking the place of a check casher or a payday loan store — is a positive thing and it shows City National is taking its commitment very seriously,” she said, noting that many other banks are closing branches instead of opening new ones.

City National has been expanding elsewhere too, but for different reasons.

Royal Bank of Canada, which bought City National in November 2015, has long had wealth-management and stock-trading businesses in the U.S., but no banking operations. It acquired City National so it could offer personal and business banking services to its American clients. To that end, City National has been opening up branches in areas where those customers are clustered.

That includes Minneapolis, home to RBC’s U.S. wealth-management headquarters, and lower Manhattan, home of its capital markets division. City National is also opening branches in Washington, D.C., where RBC has a concentration of wealth-management clients.

The Crenshaw branch has little to do with RBC’s offerings, though it does stem from the acquisition.

When the deal was announced, City National pledged that it would provide $11 billion in loans and donations to borrowers and organizations in low-income neighborhoods over the course of five years.

(EDIT:admin)

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