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East West Bancorp posts profit

April 27, 2010 |  4:13 pm

Reversing a year-earlier loss, Pasadena's East West Bancorp reported a first-quarter profit of $24.9 million, saying it benefited from its acquisition of a failed rival and lower provisions for loan losses.

The profit, the equivalent of 13 cents per share, compared with a loss of $22.5 million, or 50 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2009.

In its financial statement, East West Chairman Dominic Ng said the earnings resulted from increased assets, reflecting the takeover in November of United Commercial Bank of San Francisco.

To persuade East West to take on troubled United Commercial loans, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to shoulder most of the losses on the portfolio. The deal boosted East West's assets to $20.3 billion as of March 31, up from $12.6 billion a year earlier.

East West's provisions for loan losses and its charge-offs of uncollectible loans both peaked in the third quarter of last year. The bank said it expects both to continue to decline for the rest of this year.

 -- E. Scott Reckard