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East West Bank to Buy Rival Standard

From Reuters

East West Bancorp Inc. said it agreed to buy rival California community bank Standard Bank for about $204 million in a move to expand its Chinese American customer base.

Shareholders of Monterey Park-based Standard Bank will receive $204 million -- about two times Standard Bank’s book value -- mostly in East West stock.

The transaction, expected to close in the first quarter of 2006, will add about 2 cents a share to San Marino-based East West’s earnings, the company said Wednesday.

Standard Bank has six branches in Los Angeles County and had assets of $914 million, loans of $528 million and deposits of $729 million as of Sept. 30.

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Dominic Ng, chairman, president and chief executive of East West Bank, said that John Lee, chairman and president of Standard Bank, would rejoin East West as vice chairman.

Lee, a co-founder of Standard Bank, was the original general manager of East West Bank and helped launch it more than 30 years ago.

Combined assets of the two banks, based on Sept. 30, 2005, financial reports, would be about $8.8 billion. East West has $7.9 billion in assets.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both banks.

The deal is the second by East West in the last six months aimed at strengthening its position in the Chinese American market. On June 30, East West agreed to buy San Marino-based United National Bank for about $164.7 million.


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