By Ronald Grover
"A SMALL INDUSTRY." Miller's trusty model has kept J.P. Morgan in business arranging movie loans while studio bankruptcies and box-office disasters have forced out other banks. "With 80% of the market, they own this business," says Hotkins. That allows Miller to charge interest rates of up to 3 percentage points over the rate that top banks pay to borrow from each other. That's on top of fees of up to 3% of the loan commitment, which is shared with banks in the syndicates. It makes for a lucrative profit center: Miller says margins for the business can reach 80% of revenues.
Fresh from the University of Arizona in 1968, Miller got his start at Union Bank of California in the humdrum world of workouts of bad loans to manufacturers. In the early '70s, looking to expand the Beverly Hills branch, he met business managers for celebrities such as Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Cary Grant. It was one of those contacts