East West Bancorp said Friday that it would buy American International Bank in Los Angeles for $33.8 million in cash.

East West, with $2 billion of assets and 22 branches throughout California, said the deal would be accretive to its earnings within the first year. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2000.

American International has $213 million of assets and eight branches around Los Angeles. Both banks, which primarily cater to Chinese-American business customers, focus on commercial lending and trade finance. -- Matt Andrejczak

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