Looking to expand outside California, Nara Bank, Los Angeles, said it plans to buy a New York branch of a South Korean bank.
The $213 million-asset bank intends to buy the Flushing, N.Y., branch of Korea Exchange Bank, according to Nara chief executive officer Benjamin Hong. The deal is expected to close within 45 days, upon approval by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
"New York has the second-largest Korean population" in the United States, Mr. Hong said. "It is a good market for us."
Mr. Hong, who raised $7 million when he took Nara public in February, said he will use some of those proceeds to fund the purchase. In time, he said, the bank would expand to other sites around New York City.
Nara would use its New York foothold to offer commercial business loans, Small Business Administration loans, and trade financing.
The branch would be renamed Nara Bank and be run by current branch management. Korea Exchange, headquartered in Seoul, would still have a branch in Manhattan.
Nara, with six branches in Los Angeles and San Jose, has catered to California's Korean community since its inception in 1989. Over the next six years the bank plans to establish branches in other cities with strong Korean business bases, Mr. Hong said, including Seattle, Chicago, and Atlanta.