Profit improved at both BBCN Bancorp and Wilshire Bancorp in the second quarter, about two weeks ahead of the closing date for the Los Angeles companies' merger.

Net income at the $8.3 billion-asset BBCN rose by 2% to $23.4 million from a year earlier. Earnings per share were unchanged at 29 cents.

The $4.8 billion-asset Wilshire's net income rose 12% to $17.4 million. Earnings per share rose 11% to 22 cents.

BBCN agreed in December to purchase Wilshire for $1 billion, after a long negotiation period that involved a competing bid from Hanmi Financial, and the companies expect to close the deal on July 29. The new company, which will be one of the largest Korean-American banks, will be rebranded Hope Bancorp.

At BBCN, net interest income before the loan-loss provision rose 5% to $71 million on increases in average loans receivable and average securities available for sale. Those gains were offset by a $2 million decrease in acquisition accounting adjustments. BBCN's noninterest income rose 2% to $10.7 million.

Wilshire's net interest income before the provision rose 4.5% to $39.2 million, and its noninterest income fell 14% to $9.7 million. Net interest income was boosted by an increase in business and construction lending, offset by a drop in commercial real estate lending, Jae-Whan Yoo, Wilshire's chief executive, said in a news release.

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