August 5, 2007

FUNNY, YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE GEORGE BAILEY....:

Banking on the American dream: Despite some rough spots, East West Bancorp CEO Dominic Ng finds that building bridges pays dividends. (Scott Reckard, August 5, 2007, Los Angeles Times)

Dominic Ng, chairman and chief executive of Pasadena's East West Bancorp, has crashed into roadblocks before on his mission to build cultural bridges. But Ng wasn't prepared for the one he hit -- or, rather, that hit him -- when East West moved to acquire a small financial institution in Victorville.

He was surprised when a radio talk-show host objected to the "dirty little trick" that would put Desert Community Bank in the hands of a "foreigner," complaining that her listeners -- "the true Americans" -- would "see more Chinese faces in the bank than ever before."

And he was shocked when a watchdog group that had in the past praised East West's efforts to reach out to black and Latino customers asked regulators to delay the purchase in part because East West had allegedly ill served non-Asian minorities.

In the end, after a brief holdup, the Desert Community deal went through. And the talk-show host was fired.

At first, Ng was angry. He is still troubled that what he calls the "completely false" allegations of East West's failure to serve Latinos were repeated by Spanish-language media. After all, he says, inclusiveness is what his bank company is all about. "I worked very, very hard the last 16 years to make an impeccable image for East West. Talk about discouraging people from doing good deeds."

For a while, the attacks made him -- an immigrant who pulled off the classic American dream -- feel "very discouraged, frankly, about this country."

But Ng says he's philosophical. If some people don't want to patronize a bank led by a Chinese American, well, that's their prerogative. "We're going to move on," he says. "There will be plenty of great customers to do business with."

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2007 7:50 AM
Comments

Advertise a high rate for short term CD's and move out of the way while anglos storm the gates.

Posted by: erp at August 6, 2007 9:39 AM
« WHAT DO YOU THINK WE HIRE THEM FOR?: | Main | IF YOU HAVE TO GO TO EUROPE...: »