East West Bancorp Acquires Unsuccessful Seattle Bank As Lenders’ Number Touches 82

East West Bancorp Inc. took over the botched operations of Washington First International Bank, thereby increasing the number of U. S. lenders who have fallen down this year to 82.

According to a statement yesterday on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s website, Seattle-based Washington First was purchased by East West, the Pasadena, California-based lender with $20.3 billion in assets, after state controllers shut it down.

The collapse cost the agency's deposit-insurance finance $158.4 million.

East West Chief Executive Officer Dominic Ng said in a statement, "This acquisition further strengthens our vision to be recognized as the premier bridge between East and West and our position as the largest bank in the U. S. focused on serving the Asian-American community".

He said that the agreement displays the bank's loyalty to that community in the Seattle area.

Watchdogs are shutting down banks at the greatest speed since the 1990s in the midst of loan losses connected to realty. The FDIC's listing of trouble lenders has been the lengthiest since 1992.

FDIC Chairman, Sheila Bair said that the secret list swelled to 775 banks with $431 billion in assets in the first quarter. That's a boost from 702 banks with $402.8 billion in assets at the conclusion of the fourth quarter.

East West shelled out a premium of 0.5% for Washington First's $441.4 million in deposits.