East West Bancorp and MetroCorp Bancshares enter into definitive - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

East West Bancorp and MetroCorp Bancshares enter into definitive agreement for merger

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - East West Bancorp Inc., Pasadena-based parent company of East West Bank, will gain a foothold in San Diego in a merger announced Wednesday with MetroCorp Bancshares Inc., the Houston-based parent of MetroBank, N.A. and Metro United Bank.

East West will pay about $273 million for the outstanding shares of MetroCorp, which operates 18 branches under its two subsidiary banks. MetroBank has a dozen branches in Houston and Dallas, and Metro United Bank operates five branches in Los Angeles and San Francisco and one in San Diego.

East West currently has one branch in Texas, in Houston, and none in San Diego.

"This is a strategic merger that will significantly increase East West's presence in Houston and allow entry into the Dallas market. Additionally, the merger further strengthens East West's branch network in California and expands our footprint to San Diego," said Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West.

As of June 30, MetroCorp reported total assets of $1.6 billion, total loans of $1.2 billion and total deposits of $1.3 billion.

Following the completion of the merger, George M. Lee, co-chairman, president and CEO of MetroCorp, will join East West as a senior adviser and chairman of its newly formed Texas Strategic Markets Advisory Council.

"As one of the top performing banks in the nation, East West has the balance sheet, scale and expertise to provide strong value for MetroCorp's shareholders, customers and employees," Lee said. "Additionally, East West and MetroCorp share the same values and vision, making this combination a cultural fit as well."

The shareholders of MetroCorp will receive two-thirds of the merger consideration in shares of East West common stock and the remainder in cash.

The merger has been unanimously approved by the East West and MetroCorp Boards of Directors. It is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2014 subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by MetroCorp shareholders and regulatory approvals.

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