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East West Bancorp's Subsidiary to Sell Branches to Flagstar

Zacks Equity Research

East West Bancorp, Inc. EWBC announced that its subsidiary, East West Bank, has agreed to sell its eight Desert Community Bank branches and related assets and liabilities to the subsidiary of Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. FBC. The deal, which is expected to close by the first half of 2018, is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Situated in the High Desert area of California, Desert Community Bank operates as a separate division of East West Bank. Along with all the branches of Desert Community Bank, nearly $70 million in loans and $600 million in deposits will also be transferred to Flagstar Bank.

However, the terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. Nevertheless, the deal is expected to help Flagstar Bank move forward with its goal of acquiring deposit franchises to fund loan growth.

Flagstar Bancorp’s president and CEO, Alessandro DiNello, said, “I would like to welcome the Desert Community team to the Flagstar family. We’ve been looking to acquire a high-quality deposit franchise, but they've been difficult to find. The Desert Community branches fit the bill.”

Chairman and CEO of East West Bank, Dominic Ng, said, “East West is proud to have served the communities in the High Desert area for a decade. Although we are exiting branch banking in this region of California, it was important for us to find a buyer that was committed to retaining the Desert Community Bank name and banking team, and shared our values in providing an outstanding customer experience. With our choice of Flagstar, we believe we found a dedicated partner to support Desert Community Bank’s integral role in the High Desert communities.”

Shares of East West Bancorp have gained 21.6% in a year’s time, outperforming the 11% growth of the industry it belongs to.

Currently, East West Bancorp carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A couple of better-ranked stocks from the finance space are T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. TROW and Invesco Ltd. IVZ.

T. Rowe Price’s shares have gained nearly 32% in a year’s time. Its Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has moved 2.4% upward in the last 30 days. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Invesco currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Its Zacks Consensus Estimate has moved up nearly 2.7% in the last 30 days and its shares have gained more than 12% in the past year.

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