Downtown L.A.’s Preferred Bank, which focuses on lending to Chinese-American businesses, announced Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire United International Bank in Flushing, N.Y.

Preferred, which had assets of $2.1 billion as of March 31, will buy all the outstanding shares of United International, a small Chinese-American bank with assets of just $179 million.

Terms were not disclosed, but the price will be based on United International’s total shareholder equity as of five days before the close, plus $1.2 million. Upon completion of the deal, United will merge into Preferred, and its Flushing office will become a Preferred branch, its first outside of California.

Preferred is the second local Chinese-American bank this year to expand its presence in the Big Apple, after Chinatown’s Cathay General Bancorp agreed to buy New York’s Asia Bancshares Inc. in January. While that deal added to Cathay’s existing New York presence, Preferred’s transaction marks the lenders first foray into the Big Apple.

“This transaction provides us a tremendous opportunity to enter this important market,” Preferred Chief Executive Li Yu said in a press release announcing the deal. “The two banks share a philosophy of high touch service and building franchise value through responsive service and access to decision-makers.”

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