Rob Levy: Banking on Pasadena

Home Street looks to a familiar community face

Monday, December 16, 2013 | 1:02 pm

Rob Levy wants to send you home.

 

“Ubiquitous” is a good word to describe Rob Levy. He’s everywhere in Pasadena. When asked to profile him for Pasadena Now, my first thought was “He sounds familiar.” Then a friend reminded me that he handled her mortgage loan ten years ago. Countless Pasadenans could tell the same story.

After a long successful career with Washington Mutual, Levy was recruited to head up loan operations for Home Street Bank, a 92 year-old Seattle-based banking concern, new to this state. The Pasadena office is the first lending office in California, but after going public two years ago, the company is now expanding throughout California, with a focus on mortgage lending.

Levy, a 30-year resident of Pasadena, actually came to the bank in the midst of the 2008 banking and housing crisis, but offered the best hands-on experience available.

“I had been with Home Savings, Wells Fargo, and Washington Mutual, the biggest of the big, but it was time for a change,” Levy explains. “The critical thing nowadays is not the interest rate, or who has the biggest banner on the wall,” he adds, “but it’s who’s got the experience and the know-how to get you through the process. And not just in challenging times, but understanding the ins and outs of what it takes to get a loan, and matching your particular loan with a loan that’s right for you.”

As part of that knowhow and experience, Levy handles loans from that $150,000 starter house in Rancho Cucamonga, or the fire sale-priced condo in Raymond Hill (that my friend bought), to the executive buying the $5 million house in San Marino. It’s all part of the same professional service, says Levy.

“Pasadena is such a diverse community,” says Levy. “You go just a little ways, a few blocks, and you’re in an entirely new neighborhood. And there has been this huge transition as to what those neighborhoods are over the last thirty years, for the better. There’s been this amazing transformation. Bungalow Heaven didn’t exist, for example, and now that’s this fantastic historic community. Just all these little pockets of beauty.”

It takes a person who understands Pasadena to appreciate the town from that perspective, and Levy not only understands it, but also works to better it. While he is modest and reluctant to detail his efforts in the community, there are few local service organizations in which he doesn’t have a hand. Not the least of which is his longtime work with Union Square Homeless Services. Levy and his family can be found in Central Park every Thanksgiving, distributing holiday food to the needy and hungry.

As if that wasn’t enough, Levy also owns one of the Pasadena area’s local jewels, The Raymond restaurant, nestled along the foot of Raymond Hill, along Fair Oaks Avenue. ‘Everyone tells me the same thing,” he laughs. “They’ve driven by there a hundred times, but then, once they go in,..well,..It’s great,” he smiles.

Providing home loans, serving food to the homeless, or creating a terrific dining experience is all a part of community. And community is where Rob Levy’s heart is.

Home Street Bank, 251 S. Lake Avenue, and Pasadena. (626) 404-4599. www.homestreet.com.

 Union Station Homeless Services, 825 E. Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena. (626) 240.4550. www.unionstationhs.org.

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