Marine National Agrees to Be Bought by South Korean Bank

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In the latest transaction involving an Orange County community bank, Marine National Bank has agreed to be acquired by a major South Korean bank for $13 million in cash.

Marine National's acquisition by Shinhan Bank of South Korea is the eighth involving a community bank in the county in the last year. Unlike most other recent bank sales, however, Marine National will retain its separate identity and current management. Marine National will operate as a subsidiary of the Korean bank.

Analysts said the purchase will give Shinhan access to the Orange County business community--especially its strong international links in the pharmaceutical, electronics and computer software industries.

Marine National, which has branches in Irvine, Newport Beach and Orange, may eventually expand into Garden Grove and downtown Los Angeles as well as other Southern California areas with significant Korean communities. Marine National executives say the bank may even open offices in other metropolitan areas, such as San Francisco, with strong international trade.

"It's not a surprising acquisition, given the strength of Korean banks and the fact that they have been shopping in Southern California for a long time," said Edward Carpenter, an Irvine-based banking consultant.

Mark E. Simmons, president and chief executive of Marine National, says that no staff cuts or changes are expected and the business philosophies of the two banks' executives are compatible.

Marine National, which was founded in 1981, has assets in excess of $105 million.

Shinhan, the seventh-largest bank in South Korea, has assets of $40 billion and operates branches in New York, Tokyo and London.

S.K. Yang, head of mergers and acquisitions at Shinhan, will be named to Marine National's board of directors, Simmons said. Marine National's five current directors will remain, but the board will be expanded to include Yang and other Shinhan representatives.

The deal, which is subject to approval by Marine National shareholders and regulators in both countries, should be completed by the first half of 1996, the Irvine bank said.

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