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  December 29th, 2015 | Written by

Two Korean-American Banks Merge Operations

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  • Merged BBCN-Wilshire Bancorp will have assets of $12.3 billion, $9.6 billion in loans, and $10.0 billion in deposits.
  • BBCN-Wilshire combination will be the only full-service bank in all markets with sizeable Korean communities.
  • Expected benefits of BBCN-Wilshire merger include enhancement in SBA lending and trade finance.

Two of the nation’s largest business banksBBCN Bancorp and Wilshire Bancorp Inc. – have jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement to combine in a “strategic merger of equals.”

The move by the two banks creates the only super regional Korean-American bank in the U.S. with combined total assets of $12.3 billion, $9.6 billion in gross loans, and $10.0 billion in deposits.

The combined company will have the number-one deposit market-share position among Korean-American banks in California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, and Alabama and the second largest deposit market share position in Illinois and Texas, according to a joint statement.
“This historic merger of equals combines the top two commercial lenders in the Korean-American banking space and creates for the first time a super regional Korean-American franchise that will also be the 7th largest publicly traded bank headquartered in California,” it said.

The combination of  BBCN and Wilshire, it added, “will create an unrivaled organization with the only national platform providing full banking services in all of the major geographic markets in the U.S. with sizeable Korean-American communities.”
Expected benefits of the merger include “considerable revenue enhancement opportunities” in areas such as SBA lending and trade finance; a “strong capital and liquidity position that should accelerate growth potential in existing and new attractive markets;” and “improving the ability of the combined company to be a consolidator.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, the approvals of the shareholders of both BBCN and Wilshire, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close mid-2016.