Downey Financial Corp, a $4.6 billion-asset thrift in Newport Beach, Calif., has struck a deal that would make it one of the state's largest operators of supermarket branches.
By yearend the thrift plans to open 40 branches in Hughes Family Markets in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties in Southern California.
The arrangement would double Downey's Southern California branch network, and make it the state's fourth-largest supermarket branch operator, after Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Union Bank. The thrift currently has 41 traditional branches in Southern California, and another 12 in Silicon Valley.
Hughes, based in Irwindale, is Southern California's fifth-largest grocery store chain, with approximately 6% market share, said Michael Shultz, senior vice president. It is the last big chain in the region to sign up a bank or thrift partner.
Hughes had talked to potential partners for two years - including Wells, Bank of America, Union Bank, and Great Western Financial Corp., Mr. Shultz said.