Banponce Corp., Puerto Rico's biggest banking company, has an agreement to acquire Los Angeles-based Combancorp for $10.4 million in cash.

Combancorp owns $69 million-asset Commerce National Bank, which is based in City of Commerce, a suburb of Los Angeles. The bank earned $329,000 last year.

Commerce National had deposits of $63 million on March 31. It operates three branches, one each in City of Commerce, Montebello, and Downey, all East Los Angeles neighborhoods with substantial Hispanic communities.

Banponce, a $16 billion-asset holding company based in Hato Rey, owns Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, which runs the largest branch network targeting the Hispanic market in the United States. Its 215 bank branches include 29 in New York, six in New Jersey, four in Chicago, and one in Los Angeles.

In a recent interview with American Banker, Richard L. Carrion - chairman, president, and chief executive of Banponce - made no secret of his ambitions to expand on the U.S. mainland through acquisitions over the next few years, primarily in cities with large Hispanic populations.

"We believe the acquisition of Commerce National Bank will enable us to grow and strengthen our long-standing business ties in the Los Angeles market," Mr. Carrion said.

The deal awaits shareholder and regulatory approval. Bank officials said they expect it to close in August.

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