*Correction: The headline in the story originally published on July 1 incorrectly identified the bank East West purchased.
East West Bancorp, the San Marino-based holding company for East West Bank, has bought one of its closest rivals, United National Bank, for $164.7 million.
The purchase allows East West, now with $7.5 billion in assets, to vault over competitor Cathay General Bancorp as the No. 2 bank in California catering to Chinese-Americans. United Commercial Bank in San Francisco, still holds the No. 1 spot based on assets.
United National Bank, based in San Marino, brings to the table $970 million in assets and 11 branches, including two in Northern California and one in Houston.
East West and United National essentially serve the same market, offering business, real estate and small business loans to the local Chinese-American community.
The company said the purchase will be “marginally accretive” to 2005 earnings and will add roughly 8 cents a share to earnings in 2006.
Separately, East West Bancorp announced that Rudolph I. Estrada, an expert on small business loans who is president and chief executive of Estradagy Business Advisors, joined the company’s board.