UnionBanCal Corp. of San Francisco said Monday it hired Pierre P. Habis as the head of branch banking at its Union Bank of California.

Mr. Habis, a former Countrywide Financial Corp. executive, will oversee 325 branches in California, as well as Union Bank's small business banking and priority banking groups.

In 2004, Mr. Habis joined Countrywide as an executive vice president to lead the expansion of its deposit-gathering operations. In 2006 he was named managing director of retail banking and the chairman of Countrywide Investment Services Inc. The following year he assumed oversight for Countrywide's commercial banking business.

Mr. Habis played a leading role in developing and growing Countrywide Bank's retail network, opening 150 branches nationwide.

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