NEW YORK - Banco Popular de Puerto Rico plans to expand its branch network in the New York City market from 26 locations to 30.

The bank has signed a letter of intent to acquire deposits from Bank Leumi Trust Co. and North Side Savings Bank.

The Bank Leumi acquisition, including four branches, would increase the deposits of Banco Popular by about $180 million. The acquired customer base is in the Sheepshead Bay and Flatlands areas in Brooklyn, the lower East Side in Manhattan, and Fordham Road and Third Avenue in the Bronx.

"Our strategy of expanding our branch network and acquiring deposits will continue as similar opportunities arise," said Paul E. Carr Jr., senior vice president and district manager of Banco Popular-New York.

With this acquisition, Banco Popular's New York branches will have grown from $200 million in deposits to $1.5 billion in the last 2 1/2 years.

Banco Popular is the principal subsidiary of BanPonce Corp., San Juan, the largest bank holding company in Puerto Rico, with assets of $10.6 billion.

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