Now that he has established his institution as a force in Los Angeles' Korean-American community, Benjamin Hong, president and chief executive officer of Nara Bank, has set his sights on the rest of the nation.

Last week, $335 million-asset Nara said it would buy Korea First Bank of New York from Seoul-based Korea First Bank Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition would be Nara's second in the Big Apple since October 1998 and would give it four branches in the city, which has the nation's second-largest Korean-American population, after Los Angeles.

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