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People's Bank to Acquire Bank of Yorba Linda

Deals: The seven-branch target institution, pressed on two sides to change practices, will fetch $39 million.


The Bank of Yorba Linda, which has been under pressure from investors and regulators for months, agreed Thursday to be acquired in a $39-million cash deal by the operators of People's Bank of California.

PBOC Holdings, the Los Angeles parent of People's Bank, agreed to pay $15 a share for BYL Bancorp in Orange, the holding company for the seven-branch Bank of Yorba Linda.

The combined institution will have 31 branches in Southern California and $3.6 billion in assets.

"The combination of PBOC and BYL is a key move in our company's overall strategic plan to transform PBOC from a traditional thrift into a bank," said Rudolf Guenzel, PBOC president.

A Nevada investment group that owns a large stake in BYL has been pushing the bank's officers to find a buyer and improve the firm's financial performance.

Last summer, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ordered BYL to boost its capital levels and reduce its dependence on loan securitizations.

BYL stock closed Thursday on Nasdaq at $10.56 a share, up 44 cents, before the deal was announced. PBOC shares, also traded on Nasdaq, closed at $6.13, up 9 cents.

Separately Thursday, East West Bancorp said it plans to buy Prime Bank in Century City for $14.5 million in cash and stock.

San Marino-based East West, with $2.3 billion in assets, said it was interested in Prime Bank's specialty services for the entertainment and real estate industries.

East West shares rose 3 cents to $19 on Nasdaq before the deal was announced. Prime Bank, which has $110 million in assets, is privately held.

Both deals are expected to close in early 2001, and came just a day after Inglewood-based Imperial Bancorp announced a $1.2-billion merger with a Michigan-based bank.

Investors continued to express concern about the stock-swap sale of $7.4-billion-asset Imperial Bancorp to Comerica Inc. in Detroit. Analysts say Wall Street remains worried about the quality of Imperial's loans, particularly if the economy sours.

Comerica shares fell 56 cents to $54.56 on the New York Stock Exchange, after diving $5.19 on Wednesday. Imperial fell 31 cents to $24.13, also on the NYSE.

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