Founders National Bank has opened two branches, bringing to fruition a deal it made in January when it bought two sites from Bank of America that were to be closed.
The branches, at Crenshaw Boulevard and Stocker Street and at Western Avenue and 43rd Street, give Founders five facilities. The other branches are in the Crenshaw district on King Boulevard, in Compton and Gardena.
The banks are equipped with automated teller machines, and will have a 24-hour customer service phone number by Friday that will provide information such as balances and transactions, Founders President Carlton Jenkins said.
Founders bought the two branches from Bank of America in a deal that included the acquisition of $16 million in deposits and $2 million in loan assets from customers at the Crenshaw-Stocker branch. Founders acquired only the building at 43rd Street and Western Avenue. With refurbishing completed, Jenkins said, the branch only needs customers.
The branch has been open for more than two weeks, he said, but has few new accounts.
“We’re really working to get the word out about the 43rd and Western branch, particularly since there’s a crunch at the Stocker location,” he said. Crenshaw-based Founders has enjoyed a flurry of private industry attention since last year’s riots. Most recently, the Automobile Club of Southern California announced it was investing $1.5 million in Founders and Broadway Federal Savings & Loan, another black-owned institution based in the Crenshaw district. Arco is providing $500,000 to Founders as part of its matching funds program. The investments boost Founders’ loan capability to about $40 million and put the bank’s total assets at about $95 million.
Jenkins said that although he looks forward to more expansion, the most critical issue is maintaining a rapport with communities that have traditionally been shortchanged when it comes to banking.