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Losses continue at Hanmi Bank

January 28, 2010 |  8:20 am

Hanmi Financial Corp., operating under regulators' orders to raise capital for its Koreatown bank, said today it lost $35.9 million during the fourth quarter after setting aside $77 million to cover the mounting losses on its loans.

The 70-cents-per-share loss at the Los Angeles-based parent of Hanmi Bank compared to a smaller deficit of $3.8 million, or 8 cents a share, in the final quarter of 2008.

Hanmi's loss for all of 2009 was $122.3 million, or $2.57 per share, due mainly to $196.4 million in provisions for loan losses on commercial real estate. A year earlier it lost $102.1 million, or $2.23 per share.

Jay S. Yoo, Hanmi’s president and chief executive, said the bank has "achieved a number of positive changes in what continues to be a very difficult economic environment.” More Yoo comments from Hanmi's earnings statement:

Most notably, we have made significant progress in strengthening our loan monitoring and loan review departments, maintaining appropriate loan loss reserves in anticipation of asset deterioration, managing our liquidity and enhancing our net interest margin.

Notwithstanding these improvements, our focus during the first half of 2010 will be to fully comply with previously announced regulatory requirements by further strengthening our capital position, improving asset quality, and enhancing liquidity. Our highest priority during the next few months will be to raise sufficient capital, executing our strategic plan to comply with regulatory requirements.

Hanmi disclosed in November that regulators had ordered it to raise its capital by $100 million, which is about its current stock market value. Its shares had doubled in recent weeks on rumors that it would be purchased by a large South Korean bank. The stock was down 20 cents, or 9.5%, at $1.91 in early trading this morning.

Two larger Los Angeles banks, City National Corp. and Cathay General Bancorp, were scheduled to release their year-end financial results after the close of trading today.

--E. Scott Reckard