June 01, 2017 

By Cora Jackson-Fossett 

Staff Writer 

Asian-owned and operated Cathay Bank has appointed Alan Wright as senior vice president and team manager of Business Development. The South L.A. native brings more than 20 years of corporate banking experience to his new position.


Wright, who most recently served as first vice president with California Bank & Trust, will now direct a team of Cathay’s senior lenders and banking professionals in addressing the growth, acquisitions, recapitalizations and traditional financial needs of middle market companies in Southern California.


“The middle market primarily deals with companies that have annual revenues between $25 million and $500 million annually, but there are many minority-owned companies here in the state of California that fit into that description,” said Wright.  “From the standpoint that I can assist them, I am happy and anxious to do so as is the bank.” 


Assisting minority communities is the impetus that led to Cathay’s founding in 1962.  Originally established to provide financial services to L.A.’s growing Chinese-American population, the firm has since expanded its focus to meet the needs of underserved and under-banked areas across the nation. Its network spans from California and Nevada on the west coast to New York and New Jersey on the east coast.


Noting that Cathay’s motto is “An Open Door for All,” Wright explained, “I think it is the responsibility of all banks to reach out to [minority] communities to try to empower them, educate them and have an impact. Cathay Bank has been in the California market for 55 years and we look to service the African American community. To the extent that we can continue to be a partner, that is something that we are anxious to do.”


Wright’s attraction to finance and banking occurred following his graduation from UCLA where he majored in history and African American studies with the intent of attending law school.  But after accepting a trainee position with a local bank, he “fell in love with finance and lending” and decided to pursue his MBA at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business. He went on to complete programs at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate.


In the area of community service, Wright is on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Greater Los Angeles and in 2015, received the President’s Volunteers Service Award from President Barack Obama for his work with the organization. He is also a member of the graduate chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., whose mission promotes brotherhood, scholarship and service. 


Another aspect of Wright’s community service activities is outreach to young people, especially those interested in a financial or banking career. When interacting with youth, he reaches back to the lessons of his childhood instilled by his parents and grandmother.  They taught him a work ethic that emphasized education, discipline, planning and responsibility as well as understanding a budget and the importance of savings.


“I believe that helping young Americans build a sound financial foundation is critical not only for their futures, but for the national economy for generations to come,” said Wright.


“Ensuring that children, particularly those in underserved communities where there is a dearth of financial literacy education, understand the tenants of savings and the usage of credit at an early age can have a profound effect of empowerment and serve to help bridge the gap of financial inequality.”


Category: Business