The third-largest bank in South Korea wants to buy a majority stake in a troubled bank that’s popular with Korean immigrants in the New York-New Jersey area.
Hana Financial Group is seeking regulatory approval to acquire 71% of BNB Bank, based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. BNB has been a major force in the Korean-American community for many years, particularly through the bank’s use of small-business loans.
Until recent years, the bank had been one of the top U.S. Small Business Administration lenders in New Jersey, before coming under increased regulatory scrutiny in late 2009 over unsafe levels of bad loans.
Last year BNB ranked ninth in the state, approving 41 SBA loans, totaling $25 million, and this year it ranked about 14th as of the end of July, with 14 loans, totaling $14.7 million, according to Richard Zilg, deputy district director for the SBA’s regional office in Newark.
According to a report by North Jersey Media Group, state authorities and local business leaders are hopeful that Hana will be allowed to make the acquisition and continue funneling small-business loans into the community.