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USC AREA : Bank Branch Opens in University Village

October 02, 1994|ENRIQUE LAVIN

Crenshaw-based Founders National Bank has opened a new branch office in University Village just north of the USC campus, an area where banks are outnumbered by check-cashing stores.

The new Founders office, acquired Sept. 9, is in the building formerly occupied by Western Federal Savings Bank, 3301 S. Hoover Ave. The office opened the next business day to continue serving Western Federal's customers and ensure them that Founders is a sound banking institution, said Carlton Jenkins, president and CEO of Founders.

Founders, one of the few local African American-owned financial institutions, now has five branches in the inner city and plans additional ones.

"The USC office represents a significant opportunity that will benefit the bank in that we are a minority-owned institution concerned about serving a community that has historically been underserved," Jenkins said. "As a practical matter, it would afford us a gateway to East Los Angeles and Pico-Union, a traditionally Hispanic area."

Founders agreed to pay the Resolution Trust Corp. $888,000 for the $22.5 million in deposits at the University Village branch. Last year regulators seized Western Federal Savings & Loan, which was owned by an investment group, after it suffered millions of dollars in loan losses. The thrift was renamed Western Federal Savings Bank and had been operated by the federal government.

The opening is Founders' third in a year. In September, 1993, it opened two banks in the Crenshaw district after buying two branches from Bank of America.

"It's the same logic that we employed in preserving this bank," Jenkins said from his temporary office at Crenshaw Plaza. "It's another effort on our part that the inner city does not lose bank branches."

The new branch is equipped with a 24-hour automated teller machine, and area customers can use the bank's customer service telephone number to access account information.

Information: (213) 746-5727.

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