BBCN-Wilshire merger may cut hundreds of jobs

December 9, 2015
BBCN, Wilshire

(Korea Times file)

By The Korea Times New York staff

The merging of the largest two Korean American banks, BBCN and Wilshire, may result in as much as 300 to 400 lay-offs, according to industry sources.

The merger, officially announced Monday by bank leaders, must undergo review by both state and federal authorities as well as shareholders. If passed, a new bank could emerge as soon as during the first half of next year.

The break fee — the fee either bank would pay in case of one backing out of the merger — has been set at $40 million.

BBCN and Wilshire currently operate a handful of branches that sit within one mile of one another. In total, they possess 85 banks and 1,530 employees.

On Monday, BBCN and Wilshire said they expect to cut down on 16 percent of combined operating expenses, about $42 million, from merging. That figure includes cutting jobs and leases for locations in which the two banks currently sit blocks within each other.

As of the third quarter this year, BBCN has 941 full-time employees in 50 branches across the country, and Wilshire 589 in 35 locations. BBCN and Wilshire each have eight locations in New York and New Jersey. In Southern California, BBCN operates 26 branches, and Wilshire 22.

When united, the new bank will have assets totaling $12.3 billion and rank seventh in size among California-based banks.