The Hankey Group
In 1958, the Hankey Family owned 25% of Midway Ford; Don Hankey acquired full ownership of the Ford franchise dealership in 1972. Midway Ford is the originating company of the Hankey Group. Midway Car Rental and Westlake Financial began as complementary business extensions of Midway Ford, providing rental car service and financing to Midway Ford customers who couldn’t get financing elsewhere. Each Hankey Group company holds a symbiotic relationship to the other. HFC Acceptance, a fleet finance and leasing company, focused on commercial financing to rental agencies that purchased vehicles from Midway Ford. Nowcom’s DealerCenter provides a multi-lender and DMS platform for used car dealerships, featuring Westlake Financial as a preferred lender. Additionally, Nowcom provides IT support for all Hankey Group companies. Hankey Investment Company is a private real estate investment firm that procures real estate for Hankey Group and manages around $2B in assets, comprised of real properties ($1.65B) and commercial loans ($1.5B). Since 1985, Knight Insurance Company, a Cayman Islands company, together with its domestic affiliates KnightBrook Insurance Company and Knight Specialty Insurance Company, have partnered with North Hollywood Toyota, Westlake Financial and Midway Auto Group to provide consumers with various auto-related insurance products and services.
- Incorporated: 1972
- Headquarters: Los Angeles
- Employees: 3,435+
Focus and execution are the keys to our success. We strive to grow revenue every year by 20% and get a 30% return on equity. Our focus on profitability provides opportunities for growth both personally and professionally within the organization. Investment in our people has always been the underlying key to our success. Lastly, growing our business, focusing on technology, increasing efficiencies, empowering people, and having fun while we are working are what make us who we are today.
Our people are our most important asset. We respect each other’s unique contributions to the team, we promote integrity in all our actions, and we encourage our associates to seize every opportunity for personal excellence and success.
Our purpose is to provide world-class service to our customers, dealers, and partners, while promoting dynamic growth founded on solid financial stability.
We have a passion to be the best at what we do and we thrive on innovation and the challenges of change.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mr. Hankey completed his BA and post-graduate work at the University of Southern California in 1965. Possessing a keen understanding of finance, by age 27 Mr. Hankey became Vice President of a major investment banking firm, which would later become part of USB Paine Weber.
With a family history in the automobile business, Mr. Hankey acquired Midway Ford in 1972 and the dealership’s business flourished. During the 1980s, the organization acquired additional dealerships to its growing portfolio and established a firm foothold in the financial services industry. Today, financial services comprise a major part of the organization’s success.
Mr. Hankey believes that focus and execution are the keys to success. “We strive to grow revenue every year by at least 20%,” he explains, “and keep our profit as a percentage of revenue above industry averages.”
With the advent of the Internet, Mr. Hankey has swiftly incorporated technology into every aspect of the Hankey Group of companies.
Vice Chairman, Westlake Financial
Bret Hankey serves as the President of the Hankey Group and is a member of the board of directors on all the major companies that comprise the Hankey Group. Bret’s main focus is to continue to grow the companies by 20% year over year and maintain a 30% ROE. Bret Hankey is the Vice Chairman and Executive VP of Westlake Financial Services and is responsible for overseeing the originations of subprime, near-prime and prime automotive retail installment contracts.
Mr. Hankey graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2000 with a B.S. in Business Administration and Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate. He later went on to complete the General Dealership Management program from the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2005 in McLean, VA. Upon his graduation from USC, he joined the Hankey Group and began his career in the automotive industry.
Bret Hankey has more than 14 years of experience working in car dealerships and in the auto finance industry. During his tenure in the car business, he held roles in various positions including Salesperson, Used Car Manager, General Sales Manager and General Manager. From 2007 to Present, Bret Hankey has held multiple positions throughout Westlake Financial including Credit Analyst, Originations Manager, VP Originations, VP of Westlake Financial, Vice Chairman & EVP. He currently serves as the President of the Hankey Group
Bret Hankey’s purpose for joining the Hankey Group is to continue the growth of the companies and to maintain profit margins. He believes this will be accomplished by a continued focus on the culture, people, technology, efficiencies and operating costs.
COO, Hankey Group
Amit Shah is the Chief Operating Officer for the Hankey group and serves on the Board of Directors on all the major companies of the Hankey Group. Mr. Shah’s primary responsibility is to grow the group’s net income by adopting best practices and taking a leadership role in building, implementing and overseeing all the systems, processes, workflows and procedures across each of the companies. Mr. Shah plays a critical role in helping to shape and guide the future growth and development of the group.
Mr. Shah also helps run the HG 401k fund for the whole group.
Prior to working at the Hankey Group, Mr. Shah worked for Westlake Financial Services, a technology based finance company in the role of Senior Vice President of Servicing overseeing the Customer Service, Collections, Remarketing, Recovery, Bankruptcy and Consumer Litigation Departments. Mr. Shah offers a successful track record in driving process improvements, creating efficiencies and motivating teams to create dynamic products that meet market demand and revenue targets. He demonstrates strong leadership and communication abilities combined with a personal commitment to inclusiveness and team empowerment.
Mr. Shah earned an Executive M.B.A. degree from the University of Southern California, a M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University and a B.E. degree in Electronics Engineering from Mumbai University.
Ian Anderson joined Westlake Financial Services in July 2005 as Director of Risk Management. He was promoted to Sr. Vice President of Production, Business Strategy and Analytics in early 2007. As President, Ian’s primary focus is on growth and maintenance of an effective overall business strategy and execution. In addition, Ian’s vision is set squarely on expansion of Westlake’s strategic alliances with other leaders in the automotive industry.
Mr. Anderson received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Irvine in 1997. He is also a Ford Motor Company certified Six Sigma Black Belt.
Prior to joining Westlake, Ian held positions at Bayview Acceptance and Triad Financial as a loan officer, marketing representative, risk analyst, Six Sigma Black Belt and product manager.
Westlake Financial Services is an internet-based, privately-held finance company specializing in acquisition and servicing of sub-prime to near-prime automotive retail installment contracts.
CTO/CSA of Hankey Group
Jay Kamdar serves as the President of Nowcom Corporation and a member of the board of directors of Nowlake Technologies (parent company of Nowcom and Westlake Financial). Jay’s main focus is help companies maintain an overall business strategy and execution by leveraging technology for the group and help maintain a 20% growth and 30% ROE.
Jay Kamdar began his career in the field of ship repairing, building and structural engineering in India, before moving to California to pursue his career in IT. Jay has more than 22 years of experience in designing and managing enterprise applications has helped the group maintain a successful track record in creating operating efficiencies, delivering innovating products and successful go to market strategies.
Mr. Kamdar earned an MBA degree from the University of Southern California (USC) and Computer Science Degree from California State University Long Beach.
As Westlake’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Kerwin’s primary responsibility is oversight of all aspects of the company’s finance, accounting, treasury management and analysis.
Prior to joining Westlake, Paul was a Senior Accountant at KPMG, LLP from 1999-2002. During his three years at KPMG, Paul specialized in the Financial Services and Consumer Markets practices where his experience included sub-prime lending, due diligence and various consulting projects.
Paul joined Westlake as Controller in 2002 and was responsible for financial planning and reporting. He was named Chief Financial Officer in 2004. According to Paul, “the Hankey organization’s unique philosophy has resulted in consistent and steady growth for over 20 years,” adding that “Westlake’s employees and management are focused and determined on expanding and continuing this impressive success.”
Paul graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Accounting from the University of San Diego. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Scott earned his MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in 1994, with a major in Real Estate Finance. Following that, he formed the Highlands Group, and consulted for such firms as Colony Capital and the Koll Company.
Prior to moving to California, Scott spent 5 years working in New York for Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers, analyzing company-wide risk and credit for the firms’ derivative products groups and structuring and hedging financial transactions. Scott’s relationship with Hankey Group started in 1997, and he joined the organization full time in 1999.
Eugene advises on a number of subjects including general business transactions, real property transactions, commercial real estate finance, landlord-tenant law, corporate law, employment law and defined contribution plans.
Eugene holds a BA in Political Science and Russian Literature from the University of California at San Diego, and a JD from Pepperdine University School of Law.
Priyesh is responsible for originating new investment opportunities as well managing the overall bridge lending platform for Hankey Capital including originations, underwriting, and servicing. Priyesh is the managing principal and member of the firm’s investment committee.
Over a nearly 20-year career in commercial real estate investment, Priyesh has worked for real estate private equity groups like the Carlyle Group and CityView as well as real estate family offices like the Hankey Group, the Fifteen Group, and Stuho. Priyesh has direct involvement in over 150 investments with a combined capitalization exceeding $3 billion. Priyesh is proficient in land entitlements, multifamily residential, retail, and hotel property types. His investment experience spans most metro markets nationally but has most recently focused on California coastal and metro submarkets.
Priyesh holds a Master of Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California (MRED 2012) and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Irvine (2002).
CFO, Hankey Investment Company, LP
Gracia is the Chief Financial Officer for the Hankey Group and serves on the Board of Directors for Knight companies. Gracia’s main responsibilities include overseeing the management and execution of Hankey companies’ financial strategies, financial controls and accounting procedures, overseeing Hankey Group Cash Management, corporate and individual members’ taxation, as well as overseeing the payroll, benefits, and human resources for Hankey companies.
Gracia joined Hankey Group in 2001 in Business Management, responsible for accounting, financial operation, and business management, including Hankey Group Cash Management. She started to oversee payroll, benefits, and human resources for the group in 2005. Since 2013, Gracia has been Hankey Investment Company’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all accounting, financial, cash management, taxation, payroll, and benefits functions.
Gracia graduated with honors from Texas A & M International University with Master of Professional Accountancy and from Tarumanagara University with Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Kelechi Ogbunamiri serves as the Chief Investment Officer of the Hankey Group. Prior to joining the Hankey Group, Kelechi served as a Portfolio Manager at Guggenheim Partners overseeing $10 billion of corporate credit assets. Kelechi began his career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch.
Mr. Ogbunamiri graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University and obtained his Masters in Business Administration degree in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tonia Douglas is the Group Director of Human Resources Operations.
Tonia’s career with Hankey Group began in 1998 at Midway Ford in the Accounting Department. She held the positions of Business Manager at Midway Ford Sales in 2003 and Knight Management Insurance Services in 2009. Tonia transferred to Hankey Investment Company in 2012, assuming the role of Human Resources Manager overseeing Payroll, Benefits, and the HG Wellness Program for all Hankey Group companies.
Tonia’s career path and advancement are an extraordinary testament, highlighting opportunities available to employees within the Hankey Group organization. With a “we can” attitude, she leads major projects that enable the Human Resources team to use technology and a hands-on approach to increasing efficiencies and improving employee engagement.
Tonia’s background includes accounting, business management, payroll, benefits, Human Capital analytics, and workforce management. Certifications: SHPR, SHRM-CP, CPSP
Her passions range from outdoor hiking, running 5k to full marathons, cycling, reading fiction novels to spending time with her family in the Inland Empire & Los Angeles areas.
Gary was promoted to President of Midway Auto Group in 2022 after joining Midway in 2020 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing, where his contributions helped lead the company to historical levels of success. His prior 26-year tenure at Enterprise Rent-A-Car included a track record of expansion across multiple markets and business segments. He had most recently served as Fleet Strategist in Southern California, one of the company’s largest and most competitive regions, and Regional Vice President in Houston, TX. Honors included Exceptional Achievement Awards in Daily Rental, Remarketing, and Business Management.
Jeff Brodsky is the President HFC Acceptance, LLC. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of La Verne. Jeff joined the organization in 2002 after 5 years with Ford Motor Credit Company Commercial Lending Services. Prior to that, he was employed with Comerica Bank. He holds advanced certifications in both cash flow analysis and corporate financial analysis. He brings 10 years of specialized commercial finance management experience to the organization.
Ken Sopp is the Chairman of Credit Union Leasing of America, a company purchased by Westlake Financial in 2017. Prior to the purchase of CULA, Ken has been instrumental in building and developing Midway Fleet Leasing, focusing on studio vehicles, car rental and fleet programs.
Before joining the Hankey Group in 2010, Ken owned a Los Angeles area Ford dealership where he worked in all areas of dealership operations and automotive finance. He holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in Business from Northwestern University and is a board member at the National Vehicle Leasing Association.
Ken’s family has been in the automotive business for four generations.