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Ex-BBVA broker suspended over alleged $150K customer loan

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A former BBVA broker has agreed to a seven-month suspension and a $20,000 fine to settle allegations that while employed at BBVA he borrowed $150,000 from a customer without the firm’s approval and failed to disclose an outside real estate business, according to his recent settlement with FINRA.
The regulator faulted Frank Bazan for not notifying BBVA about a real estate property that he bought with a partner in 2013 and then flipped that year for a $15,000 profit. FINRA chided him for lying on a compliance attestation to BBVA that he had not engaged in any outside business activities in 2013, when in fact he had.

Registered reps are prohibited from engaging in outside business ventures without written notice to their firms, FINRA said.

The regulator also scolded Bazan for allegedly accepting the $150,000 customer loan, which was secured by real estate that he owned. While Bazan deposited the customer’s $150,000 check into his personal bank account, the bank reversed the deposit because it looked suspicious, according to FINRA.

Bazan voluntarily resigned from the firm in March 2016, one day after the deposit was reversed, FINRA said.

Bazan worked for BBVA in Houston when the alleged improprieties occurred. He joined BBVA in December 2012, according to his BrokerCheck report.

Neither Bazan nor his attorney, Jeremy Bartell of Washington, D.C., responded to voice and email messages seeking comment. In his settlement with FINRA, Bazan neither admitted nor denied the regulator’s findings.

Al Ortiz, a BBVA spokesman, declined to comment on Bazan’s suspension, saying it does not disclose information related to current or former employees.

Bazan joins at least one other bank rep who was sanctioned this year by FINRA for borrowing money from customers. Philip Andrew Johnson, a former SunTrust advisor, was suspended for three months in March for allegedly borrowing $528,000 from a customer without the SunTrust’s knowledge and approval.

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