First Hawaiian Bank, a subsidiary of BancWest, announced on June 1 that it had signed an agreement to acquire Union Bank of California's branch network in Guam and Saipan, two territories in the South Pacific. The transaction, which is subject to approval by U.S. regulatory authorities, is expected to be closed towards the end of fourth quarter 2001.

First Hawaiian will assume branch deposits of approximately $200 million and buy various loans from the branches. First Hawaiian will also process merchant credit transactions for Union Bank of California business customers in Guam and Saipan.

The acquisition brings First Hawaiian an opportunity to expand its commitment to Guam and Saipan, a region where it has a longstanding presence. It has operated on Guam since 1970 and on Saipan since 1997. The bank will offer Union Bank of California customers new services such as online banking, interest-bearing checking accounts and Saturday banking.

This move is part of First Hawaiian's growth strategy. It currently has 56 branches.

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