Los Angeles Business Journal

Banc of California Expects OK of Branch Purchases

By Andrew Edwards Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Banc of California executive said Tuesday he anticipates federal regulators will approve their planned purchase of 20 bank branches in Los Angeles and Orange counties despite the objections of an activist group.

The Irvine-based Banc of California is in the process of acquiring 20 branches of the Puerto Rico-based Popular Community Bank, formerly known as Banco Popular. The California Reinvestment Coalition, an activist group that calls for banks to increase lending activities in low-income communities, has asked Banc of California to publicly disclose its plan for complying with the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law designed to encourage lending to low- and moderate-income consumers.

The activist group also wants federal regulators to hold public hearings before the branch acquisitions can be approved.

Gary Dunn, Banc of California’s senior vice president and community development officer, said regulators having already given favorable reviews to the bank’s performance and the bank wants to continue relationships with communities formerly served by Banco Popular.

“The branches have many relationships with the customers that we want relationships with,” Dunn said. “We’re based in California. We’re focused on Californians doing well.”

Dunn also said Banc of California organized two public outreach events since its plans to acquire the Banco Popular branches were announced in April. Bank officials met representatives of local non-profit groups in Whittier and Brea.

Banc of California expects the branch acquisitions to close by year’s end.