Los Angeles Business Journal

South Korean Bank to Take Majority Stake in Saehan Bancorp

By Deborah Crowe Friday, February 10, 2012

Saehan Bancorp on Friday said that Hana Financial Group has agreed to take a 51 percent ownership interest in the Koreatown bank.

Hana Financial, based in Seoul, South Korea, will buy newly issued shares of Saehan stock, but the banks did not disclose how much would be paid. Saehan has assets of nearly $563 million and 10 branches.

“Our proposed investment in Saehan complements a focus on expanding our organization’s global presence, particularly within the U.S. banking community, and participating in the consolidation of financial institutions in this important market,” said Hana Chairman Seung Yu Kim in a statement

Hana Financial recently completed acquisition of Korea Exchange Bank, which has operations in Los Angeles. The Saehan deal is subject to approval by both U.S. and Korean regulators.

Saehan, like several other Korean-American banks based in Los Angeles, has struggled to recover from loans that went bad during the recession. The Hana deal will help Saehan upgrade credit-scoring and other risk-management systems, and enhance its private banking services, said Saehan Chairman Dong Soo Han.

“The proposed transaction will enable Saehan to further strengthen its financial position and provide the Korean-American community with diversified financial products and services available through our strategic partnership with Hana Financial,” said Han in a statement.

The announcement was made before the markets closed on Friday. Shares closed up 39 cents, or 150 percent, to 65 cents on the OTC Bulletin Board.