OneUnited Bank to Close Two California Branches

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OneUnited Bank, a minority-owned institution in Boston, will close two branches in California, or about a quarter of its total branch network.

The $649 million-asset bank plans to close branches in Los Angeles and Pasadena, leaving it with two branches in California, in Los Angeles and Compton. OneUnited also has three branches in the Boston area and one in Miami.

OneUnited is closing the branches for financial reasons and because it wants to expand its online presence, Robert Patrick Cooper, general counsel, said in an interview. OneUnited has developed a mobile banking app that includes an online chat service with customer-service representatives.

"It's really part of strategy that's consistent with a new era of banking," Cooper said. "To grow, we're going to have to engage our customers in the online community."

The proposed closings require approval from the Massachusetts Division of Banks.

OneUnited is one of 13 banks that remain in the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program. It issued about $12.1 million in preferred stock to the Treasury in December 2008, and all the shares remained outstanding as of April 11. OneUnited had a total of about $5.2 million in missed Tarp dividend payments as of March 31.

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