Murray Coleman


Murray Coleman is a Business Journal reporter covering finance, manufacturing, economics and other topics. He can be reached at

Phone: 949-833-8373

Recent Stories

Profit Return

Majority of Local Banks, Thrifts Profitable in First Quarter

Two years of heavy losses at banks and thrifts seem to be coming to an end.

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BofA, Merrill Integration Progresses; $25B Under Management

FINANCE: Company expects to wrap up integration by August

Bank of America is looking to largely wrap up its local integration of Merrill Lynch by August

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Lenders More Than Doubled Local Small-Business Loans


The amount of loans made by the largest 20 Small Business Administration lenders in the county jumped to $155 million for the six months through March, according to this week’s Business Journal list. Includes the 2010 OC's SBA LENDERS for download (pdf)

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Small-Business Owners Find Different Ways to Grow in Recovering Economy

The Business Journal took a look at four such small-business owners and their efforts to build bigger customer bases as the county moves out of recession and into recovery.

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Lending Leap

Small-Business Loans Jumped in Q1 on Government Provisions, Local Bank Involvement

Small-business loans jumped in the first quarter

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Buyout Firm Wins Fremont General Out Of Bankruptcy

Distressed buyout firm Signature Group Holdings LLP has been chosen to revive fallen subprime mortgage lender Fremont General Corp.

Brea Church Lender Looking to Raise $100M

FINANCE: Ministry Partners sees more troubled loans as churches struggle

A company that specializes in mortgage loans to churches is trying to raise $100 million

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Distinctive Designs

Handbag Designers Revamp, Harveys Cope with Economy by Expanding Designs, Sellers

Handbag designer Harveys Industries is making some changes; Local purse maker Revamp Productions is venturing into clothes

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Applied Signal Expands Anaheim Hills Operation

DEFENSE: Company has about 25 people, looking to double

Defense contractor Applied Signal has relocated its local operations within Anaheim

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Early Venture Funding Still Hard to Come By

FINANCE: Venture capital firms nurse prior investments; thawing under way?

Where have all the venture capitalists gone?

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Regrouping UBS Expands Locally, Plans to Add to Ranks of Advisers

FINANCE: $14B managed here; tax scandal, mortgage issues linger

The investment advisory arm of embattled UBS AG has gained business in OC and is looking for a bigger piece of the local market

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Eaton Vance Taps Manager for Fund; Focused on Commodities, Then Some

FINANCE: Armored Wolf founder used to run similar fund at Pimco

FINANCE: A former money manager at Pimco and his Aliso Viejo firm have been tapped to manage a commodities mutual fund

Eaton Aerospace Unit Brings on Workers with New Markets Push

AEROSPACE: Eaton’s local aerospace operations are seeing more work than they have in years

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Pacific Mercantile Returns To Profitability

Costa Mesa-based Pacific Mercantile Bank, the county's largest bank or thrift by assets, climbed back into profitability in the first quarter as its stock kept outperforming by reaching a new 52-week high.

Tepid 2010 Job Growth Forecast

Job growth is seen for Orange County later this year but at a slower rate than originally predicted, according to an updated forecast by California State University, Fullerton economists.

Venture Funding Rose 57% in First Quarter

The value of venture capital deals in the county rose 57% in the first quarter to $201.6 million from a year earlier, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

Veteran Architect Turns to China, Starts to See Some U.S. Recovery

SERVICES: Doing hotels, malls, offices in China; quick schedule

ARCHITECTURE: A veteran local architect has turned to China

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Small Business Lending Surges

Small business loans in the county jumped to $80.7 million in the first quarter, a 172% rise from a year ago, according to the Small Business Administration’s Santa Ana district staff.

County's Unemployment Rate Up In March

The county's unemployment rate returned to more than 10% in March, but the pace of yearly layoffs slowed with a gain in jobs from February to March.

Fremont Bankruptcy Reaches Final Phase

FINANCE: Three plans compete to turn subprime lender into bank

Fallen subprime mortgage lender Fremont General is moving closer to emerging from bankruptcy after nearly two years of wrangling

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Real Estate Loans a Concern for Some Banks

Debt Issues Linger

Real estate investors aren’t the only ones concerned about a possible wave of commercial mortgage defaults

Register Investor Set to Gain Stake In L.A. Times Parent

A New York-based distressed buyout firm that has acquired a stake in Irvine-based Freedom Communications Inc. is making a bid for part of another media company, the parent of the Los Angeles Times.

Pacific Mercantile Bank Narrows Loss

Costa Mesa’s Pacific Mercantile Bank, the largest based in Orange County, reported a narrowed fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday.

Pimco Readies More Funds in ETFs Push

FINANCE: Plans in works for six more funds; $900M invested so far

Pimco is expanding its move into exchange-traded funds

Distressed Investor Grabs Stake in Register Parent

MEDIA: Angelo Gordon cited as key investor; rebound forecasted

A New York-based private equity firm specializing in distressed debt is set to become a leading investor in Freedom Communications

Execs Turn Solidly Positive

ECONOMY: Q2 outlook highest in two-plus years

Executives have turned solidly optimistic in their outlook for the second quarter

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Blue Horseshoe Loves ...

Wealth Managers Back in Stocks, Commodities, Real Estate; Some Shun Bonds

With Wall Street now in a yearlong rebound, wealth managers have adjusted their strategies.

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Top Wealth Managers Manage $8B for Wealthy, Other Clients

FINANCE: Advisers find place in new era; diversified investing tacks

Those on the Business Journal’s list of top wealth managers report that they’ve made it through two tumultuous years of investing without severe slippage in clients or returns.

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Subprime Auto Loans Coming Back to Life

FINANCE: Executive starting new company, others see bounce in Q4

Are subprime auto loan makers back in business?

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In Case You Missed It: We’re in Recovery

ECONOMY: County nearing a year of growth; employment lags

OC’s economy is approaching a full year of recovery, though that may not mean much if you’re still looking for a job

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Global Investor Eyes Newport Expansion

FINANCE: Euro Pacific looks to add bankers, brokers, others

A stock brokerage and investment advisory firm run by economist Peter Schiff has moved to new offices within Newport Beach with plans to hire

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Private Equity Spending Again, Targeting Smaller Cos.

FINANCE: Pent-up demand likely to increase deals by end of this year

The encouraging signs are for private equity investments

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Sun Also Rises

Cautious Bank Expands in Meltdown’s Fallout

Sunwest Bank is turning up the heat on its competitors

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Roth Conference on Rebound; Billy Idol

FINANCE: ’80s rocker said to be headlining; attendees up from ’09

Roth Capital opens its yearly three-day Roth Orange County Growth Stock Conference with more global flavor and an eye on better economic times

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Good Values

Public Companies Have Seen a Run-Up in Value, Set Benchmark for Potential M&A Deals

Why rising company valuations aren’t expected to deter potential buyers

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Pacific Life Reports Higher Assets, Revenues

The county's largest private employer improved its financial position in 2009.

Bren Leads OC Billionaires On Forbes List

Local Contingent Remain As Staples

Local businessmen, led by Donald Bren, again make Forbes' latest list of the world's top billionaires.

Rise in Bad Loans Raises Questions for Two Little Saigon Banks

First Vietnamese American Bank and Saigon National Bank recently scored poorly in a test of their bad loans and real estate against their cash reserves

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Mattress Maker Mounts Turnaround

MANUFACTURING: Custom Comfort flirted with bankruptcy

Two years of lagging sales didn’t bring an end to a local mattress maker

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Life After Crash for Private Equity

FINANCE: Deals slowed in 2009 but didn’t stop; $4B-plus in 2 years

Private equity deals continued flowing in OC in the past two years

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Roth Sees Surge with China, Wall St. Jump

FINANCE: Early 2010 work up three times from ‘dismal’ year ago

The county’s largest homegrown bank has seen the values of its deals triple from last year

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BofA Reclaims Lead; Fewer Deals, Integration Plays Out

FINANCE: Banks here at $64B in deposits, top 10 comprises 80%

The tale of commercial banking in Orange County has become one of size

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Smaller Savings and Loan Pack Regroups, Sees Gain in Deposits

What’s going on in the local thrift scene.

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Local Consolidation Nears Peak; Locals May Be Regional Buyers

Some believe OC is immune to the continuing bank failures expected to play out this year

One Year Out

Banking’s Epic Transformation Continues, New Era Starts Settling In

Not all of the dust has settled from the epic reshuffling of the local banking market that started in late 2008.

Local Bat Maker Sees Big Revenue Jump, Sells to MLB

Bella Collina Golf Members Get Business Services; Costa Mesa Resident Starts Swimsuit Line

Trinity Bat in Fullerton just got its first big supply of wood to kick off a new baseball season, in the Small Business column

Manufacturing Costs Rise as Sales Stay Soft

ECONOMY: Recovery sees rise in materials prices, yet sales lag

The budding recovery is proving to be a double-edged sword for manufacturers

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Fledgling Hedge Fund Gets $40M Placement

One of the county’s larger hedge fund managers is getting a $40 million multiyear placement from a French investment company

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JPMorgan Set to Leave WaMu Office, Consolidate

FINANCE: Bank staying local, leasing 70,000 sf from Irvine Co.

JPMorgan is moving its local headquarters but staying in Irvine

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Federal Guarantees for SBA Loans Aimed at Spurring Lending

FINANCE: Feds backing 80% of banks’ shares of expansion loans

New federal loan guarantees designed to spur lending to small business are due within weeks

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