Hanmi Financial faces lending challenges after FDIC review


Hanmi Financial Corp. has seen its share of stumbles in the market lately.
Over the past month, the Downtown Bank, which is the second-largest Korean-American banking firm behind Koreatown rival Hope Bancorp Inc., with $ 17.5 billion in assets, announced the departure. suddenly an administrator and a senior accounting officer. .

The departures came under the cloud of a recent performance review the institution received from its banking regulator on its lending history in low and moderate income neighborhoods.

Hanmi has $ 6.6 billion in assets and 35 branches across the United States. About two-thirds of the branches are located in Los Angeles County, with others scattered throughout Washington, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and from New York.

Last summer, Hanmi was informed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures bank deposits and regulates banking companies, that the bank “needs to improve” its compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act for the period from March 29, 2018 to May 3, 2021..

These odds are relatively rare. The last locally known bank to receive a “need to improve” rating from the FDIC came four years ago with the State Bank of India, which has assets of $ 874 million.

According to the list released earlier this month by the FDIC, only two of the 83 banks in the country that received their appraisal ratings from the ARC in July received a “need to improve” rating under the Anti-Redlining Act of 1977. The CRA is a law designed to encourage banks and insured savings banks to meet local credit needs, including those in low- and modest-income neighborhoods, while respecting operations healthy and safe.

“We were disappointed with the CRA rating given Hanmi Bank’s deep commitment to the diverse communities we serve,” said Bonnie Lee, President and CEO of the bank. “While the decommissioning is unfortunate, we have a comprehensive plan to mitigate the items identified by regulators, which we have already started to implement.”

“The rating does not impact our ability to continue to implement our current organic growth efforts, and we will continue to strive to help our customers and the communities we serve,” said Lee.

The CRA challenge followed a second quarter report that showed an improvement in the bank’s profitability compared to previous periods when it struggled with business loans over 90 days overdue – an emblematic problem of the pandemic. In its latest report, the bank managed these unrecognized loans downward, which fell almost 30% from the previous quarter.

An update on unrecorded loans will be given on October 26 when the bank releases its third quarter report.
A year ago, Patrick Carr was hired as Hanmi’s accounting manager, but he resigned effective October 15, ac
according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On October 18, the bank hired Joseph Pangrazio as Carr’s replacement. Pangrazio previously held accounting and finance positions for various financial institutions for a quarter of a century, most recently as vice president of accounting controls and reporting for Bank of the West in San Francisco.

In an October 6 filing, Hanmi revealed that Kiho Choi informed the bank of his immediate departure from Hanmi’s board.

Choi is a director and managing partner of CKP, based in Koreatown, the largest Korean-born American accounting firm in the United States.

Just over two years ago, Lee, who joined Hanmi in 2013 as COO, replaced Chong Guk “CG” Kum, who retired from Hanmi. Lee joined Hanmi as COO in 2013.

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