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Sanwa and Tokai Banks to Merge


Sanwa Bank California and Tokai Bank of California--both subsidiaries of giant Japanese institutions--agreed Tuesday to a merger, creating a company with $12 billion in assets that would be called United California Bank.

The consolidation is part of the planned merger of the banks' Japanese parent companies, Sanwa Bank Ltd. and Tokai Bank Ltd., which are combining with Toyo Trust & Banking Co. to create a $780-billion institution called UFJ Holdings Inc.

The merger of the Japanese banks, part of a major restructuring of the troubled Japanese financial system, is expected to be completed in early 2002.

The California banks expect to complete their merger in July, contingent on regulatory approval.

No layoffs or branch consolidations are immediately planned, Sanwa spokeswoman Madeline D. Sell said. Sanwa has 3,000 employees, 108 branches and assets of $9.3 billion, and Tokai has 15 offices, about 400 employees and assets of $1.9 billion.

"What will result from this combination is a larger California bank with a little greater capability than either of the two banks currently have," said J. Richard Belliston, vice chairman of Tokai Bank of California.

Sanwa, based in Los Angeles, is the third-largest among banks headquartered in California, after Wells Fargo and Union Bank.

Tokai has 12 branches and three loan production offices, which are mainly located in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Sanwa California President Ryosuke Tamakoshi is expected to be named president and chief executive of United California Bank, and Kazunori Nishimoto, president of Tokai of California, is expected to become vice chairman, Belliston said.

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