Koreatown’s Wilshire Bancorp Inc. announced Tuesday that it has opened its first full-service bank branch in Georgia, located in the city of LaGrange. The bank, Los Angeles County’s ninth-largest, primarily caters to the Korean-American community.
LaGrange, located about an hour outside of Atlanta, is the seat of Troup County, where Korean automaker Kia has a factory. Some of Kia’s vendors also opened plants in the area, infusing the region with a substantial Korean population and business ties.
“Georgia has a large Korean-American community and is also home to a growing network of vendors and suppliers to U.S. subsidiaries of Korean-national companies, which makes it an attractive market for our expansion,” Wilshire Chief Executive Jae Whan Yoo said in a press release announcing the opening.
Wilshire is the first of Koreatown’s big banks to open a full-service branch in Georgia, though rival BBCN Bancorp has a loan production office in Atlanta. BBCN, Wilshire and Hanmi Bank, also in Koreatown, are by far the nation’s largest Korean-American banks and all three have been steadily expanding their services outside of Southern California to locales including Texas, Virginia and Washington State.
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