LOS ANGELES, Dec. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 2011, Joanne Kim was named President and CEO of Commonwealth Business Bank (CBB) in Los Angeles. She inherited an institution focused on financial needs of the nearly half-million Korean-Americans in Southern California.
She was determined to build the bank's base by serving other communities throughout Southern California. In less than three years, she has successfully expanded the bank's customer roster to include significant companies and families in the Iranian community in Beverly Hills and a wide range of diverse businesses in the San Fernando Valley and in neighboring Orange County.
At a Veteran's Ceremony held at Paramount Studios, Joanne Kim and her CBB bank were honored for creating loan opportunities for a special group of Americans – disabled veterans who were starting or expanding their own small businesses. Many of the U.S. veterans present had served during the Korean War as well as in Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Business Matchmaking, the decade old public-private initiative started with the SBA to promote diversity, singled her out as a leading community bank specifically assisting "those who had been in harm's way and returned as wounded warriors in need of help in fulfilling a business dream."
Colonel Don Gonneville, past president of the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance and veteran advisor to Business Matchmaking, presented Joanne Kim to some 400 disabled veterans, active duty military and 125 young volunteers being sworn in that day to the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
For the Korean born and educated banker and business leader, it was a very personal experience. She spoke of her family history and her passionate gratitude to the U.S. military. "If it were not for the American troops, our family would not have survived and we would not have had the opportunity to come to this country and enjoy the freedoms the United States offers," Kim said.
Having completed her first disabled veteran- owned business venture loan, she promised an aggressive campaign to reach out to help business owners who had served in the military "every opportunity to get started and grow."
Hector Barreto, former administrator of the Small Business Administration, who launched Business Matchmaking ten years ago, said "there are no more deserving companies than those led by veterans who have returned with the scars of war. Clearly, the Commonwealth Business Bank and Joanne Kim are setting an example for all financial institutions."
Sheila Von Driska
SOURCE Business Matchmaking