February 13, 2014

By Edward Rice, III

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

When it comes to servicing the financial needs of underserved clients in Southern California, Broadway Federal Bank is the premiere banking institution in the west. Established in 1946 as Broadway Savings and Loan, originally the bank was founded according to current CEO, Wayne Kent-Bradshaw to address the needs of the underserved black community. “We are still committed to that same purpose today,” says Bradshaw. “We see ourselves as a leading community bank serving the lower to moderate income community in Southern California.”

“Broadway was founded because the black community at the time was unable to get financing to move west of Western,” explains Bradshaw. “There was no way that they could live wherever they wanted to so Broadway along with Family Savings was founded to provide financing for that community and Broadway has steadfastly held to that tradition and still does.”

Today Broadway’s primary focus is still providing housing for the Southern California community with one major difference: small multi family lending. “We focus primarily on small multi family lending and the reason that we focus on that is because in the greater LA area the affordability index is very low. I don’t think 20% of the population can afford a home at these prices,” states Bradshaw. “So providing multi family housing for people is critical and we’ve decided to focus on that area and be the best in class. Thus, small units in the Los Angeles area are our #1 market. We do single family financing but again our focus is on the multi-family. In terms of deposit products we think we’re providing what 95% of the market needs, which is checking, savings, and IRAs. Ours is a very simple, straight-forward, no bells and whistles banking addressing the needs of the community we serve.”

When asked about what makes Broadway different and its competitive advantage Bradshaw had one quick, clear, reply: Responsiveness. “When you’re dealing with a Broadway Federal you can get to me or any other senior manager in the bank to address your problems,” insists Bradshaw. “You’re also dealing with people who live and work in and are from in great part (not every last one obviously)  the community. They understand that someone doesn’t have to have a pristine image to be a good person…it can depend on the circumstances.” He added, “Being able to deal with people who know the business is important as well; this is the third of our institutions that I’ve turned around. I’ve turned around Founders; I’ve turned around Family and now Broadway. I’m somebody that knows exactly what we need to do.”

Declaring that he knows what we need to do is an understatement with respect to Bradshaw’s expertise. He recently completed a recapitalization of Broadway Federal Bank that took three years to complete, included the federal government and was described by one investment banker as “one of the most complex transactions I’ve ever dealt with.”  “The current state is in very good shape,” says Bradshaw confidently. “The capitalization concluded, we’re poised for growth and serving the community as well as we possibly can. We have basically recapitalized the bank and gotten rid of five layers of debt that was problematic for the bank and turned the capital structure into a pure equity structure. We started making money 7 or 8 of the last 12 months,” not a lot he cautions. “But we were able to solve many of the significant problems that we had, you know with non-performing assets, unclassified assets and delinquencies. We addressed all of the issues and now we’re ready and poised to move the bank forward.”

As Bradshaw discusses the bank’s future the excitement and optimism in his voice is undeniable. “We’re positioned for growth. We’ve simplified our balance sheet, we’re raising capital to address the debt the parent company has and bring in capital for growth. We’ve also got really solid fundamentals here,” he stresses.  “The things that caused us problems have been substantially corrected. We have an extremely experienced management team and a team that knows how to rebuild banks. We’ve picked out a really profitable niche that we’re going to focus on: multi-family first, then residential, then owner-occupied retail and some sba loans.”

It’s clear that anybody that walks through Broadway Federal’s door can expect to be at home. Bradshaw confirms that “we would embrace them, we’d be happy to see them and we would assist them in anyway we can. We’ve been doing that for 60 + years and we are focused on being the best in class.”

For Broadway Federal Bank it’s definitely not business as usual. While changes were necessary and recapitalization ushered in a new era of banking for the trailblazing institution, the values the bank was founded on are still very much intact. “The business is the business. It’s banking. Everybody does it, the money is the same,” claims Bradshaw. “So the discerning factor is the service you can provide and we feel we can serve our particular community better than anybody else.”

Category: Business

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