Two Los Angeles community banks that cater to Korean-Americans announced strong earnings this week.

Nara Bank said Thursday that its net income for 2000 rose 163% from the year earlier, to a record $10.5 million. Net income per share was $1.99 for the year. On Wednesday, $1 billion-asset Hanmi Bank reported a 29.4% increase in net income for 2000, to $15.5 million.

The $602 million-asset Nara attributed its earnings growth to the acquisition of $79 million-asset Korea First Bank of New York, a deal completed last February; to a 51% increase in lending, to $355 million; and to a 71% increase in noninterest income, to $13.8 million. Fourth-quarter earnings rose 88%, to $2.3 million or 44 cents per share.

Hanmi’s nonperforming asset ratio had fallen though the bank’s loan and deposit growth has averaged more than 30% the past two years. The ratio of nonperforming assets to total loans dropped from 0.61% in 1998 to 0.25% in 2000. Hanmi also reported a 58.4% increase in earnings, to $4.3 million for its fourth quarter, its 16th straight quarter of earnings growth.

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