SAN FRANCISCO - Union Bank of California, the flagship banking subsidiary of Unionbancal Corp., has set up a fund to aid victims of the earthquake in India.

The fund was spearheaded by Magan Patel, the company's head of international banking, who was on his way to India for an extended business trip on the day of the disaster and is a native of Ahmedabad, one of the worst-hit cities.

James Willis, a senior vice president in the international group at Union Bank of California, said the San Francisco bank's ties to India run deep, including a large correspondent banking commitment. Also, he said, California's many expatriates from India deserve "understanding and sensitivity."

Donors can contribute directly to the India Earthquake Relief Fund by wiring money to Union Bank or going to one of its offices.

The American Red Cross is handling the distribution of funds.

Unionbancal is 67%-owned by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd.

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