Wichita’s biggest pawn broker, Bruce Harris, borrowed against his assets — and his bank says he may lose them.
Simmons First National Bank filed suit last week seeking to foreclose on Harris and six of Harris’ businesses for not repaying a $4 million loan.
Harris says his business will not be affected by the suit, and he is working with another bank to secure a loan to pay off Simmons.
According to the suit, Harris originally approached Simmons in July 2013 for a $5 million loan, that was later lowered in March 2015 to $4 million.
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According to the suit, Harris hasn’t kept up with the agreed upon financial requirements: his total new worth fell below $3 million; the value of the companies’ accounts receivable and inventory fell below the value of the loan, and Harris failed to provide timely financial statements to the bank.
The bank is asking the court for possession of all business assets, inventory, accounts receivable, fixtures, even computer software, to pay off the debt.
An attorney representing Simmons did not return calls for comment.
Harris said Tuesday that it’s not a failure of him and his business, but a desire for Simmons to stop being his lender.
He said he is in the process of securing lending from another bank to pay off Simmons.
His business, he said, will be unaffected by the lawsuit.
He said he has never been late on a payment. The suit is Simmons’ way of pushing the issue.
“I’m restructuring with a new bank,” he said. “That bank (Simmons), they just don’t like our business model. It will be business as usual.”
A-OK has four locations: 2021 N. Amidon, 1525 S. Broadway, 1547 S. Oliver and 410 N. West St. It provides not just pawn services — in which the shop lends money on an asset that the owner can redeem later, or sell later if not redeemed — but a host of services for customers: payday loans, title loans, check cashing, tax refund loans, as well as cash for gold and jewelry repair. Harris also has a “Better Living” rent-to-own business.
In 2012, Harris bought the former Marina Lakes shopping center at 21st and Amidon, redeveloped it and renamed it New Leaf Shopping Center. He has largely filled the shopping center, including a 34,000 square foot A-OK store.
He closed a shop near Central and Ridge last year.