Koreatown’s BBCN Bank announced a small acquisition last week, but that could be just the first step in a significant expansion.

The lender, owned by BBCN Bancorp Inc., has agreed to acquire Pacific International Bancorp Inc., which has about $200 million in assets and four branches in the Seattle area. The all-stock deal, valued at $8.2 million, is expected to close in the first quarter.

Aaron Deer, an analyst in San Francisco with Sandler O’Neill & Partners LP, said BBCN got “very attractive” pricing in part because Pacific International has had loan troubles.

BBCN, the nation’s largest Korean-American bank, has $5.3 billion in assets and 40 branches across the country. Pacific International is the largest Korean-American bank in the Pacific Northwest; the acquisition will expand BBCN’s Seattle-area branches to six.

“It’s relatively small in size, but it gives BBCN a larger footprint in the Pacific Northwest, (which) has a pretty sizeable Asian-American community,” Deer said. “And given that BBCN goes after a broader base of clientele than the Korean-Americans, the actual opportunity for them in those markets is much greater.”

He added that the bank’s financial performance and loan growth have been strong, and it recently reinstated its dividend.

Given the recent performance, he expects BBCN, which formed last year through the merger of Center Bank and Nara Bank, to consider additional acquisitions in the near future.

“I would expect that they’re going to continue to look for opportunities like this,” he said.

Suit Settlement

The former head of WesCorp, a now-defunct corporate credit union in San Dimas, has reached a settlement with regulators over claims that he contributed to the institution’s costly 2009 failure.

Robert Siravo, the former chief executive, agreed to pay $600,000 and to refrain “from becoming an employee of, holding any office in or otherwise participating in any manner in the conduct of the affairs of any federally insured credit union,” according to a release from the National Credit Union Administration. Siravo did not admit liability as a result of the settlement.

Western Corporate Federal Credit Union, known as WesCorp, was among the largest corporate credit unions in the country. But after making a series of risky investments in mortgage-backed securities, the institution lost $7 billion and was closed by regulators in early 2009.

Regulators filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against a number of former officers and directors. Many of the claims in the suit were dismissed and others were settled.


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