Hope Bancorp in Los Angeles is planning to contract.
The $13 billion-asset company, formed by the merger of BBCN Bancorp and Wilshire Bancorp, said in a press release Monday that it will close 12 branches in Southern California, New York and New Jersey as part of a broader cost-cutting effort. Two California branches will be converted into alternative business and corporate space, while a branch in New York or New Jersey will become a commercial lending office.
The branches represent about 14% of the company's total branch network, though Hope said it could close more locations by mid-2017.
Hope said it expects to incur a one-time pretax charge of about $2.1 million in the second half of this year tied to the closures. The consolidations should help the company save about $11 million annually on a pretax basis.
"Our branch repurposing strategy is designed to make our lending units more accessible to our customer base, reflecting our commitment to grow and expand with our customers in our targeted geographic markets," Kevin Kim, Hope's president and chief executive, said in the release. "We have been tightly managing our staffing levels over the past few quarters in anticipation of branch consolidations post-merger, and we expect most of the personnel from the impacted branches will be transferred to nearby branches or other corporate departments."
At the same time, Hope said it will open its second branch in Houston early next year. The branch is expected to open next spring.