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BNP Paribas and its subsidiary, Bancwest, complete acquisition of United California Bank

Transaction creates $34 billion western banking organization; Bank of the West becomes fourth-largest California bank

BancWest Corporation, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of United California Bank from UFJ Bank Ltd of Japan. United California Bank is the largest Los Angeles-based bank with assets of $10.5 billion and 115 branches throughout California.

United California Bank will be merged into Bank of the West, a BancWest subsidiary. Later this year, its branches will be fully integrated into the branch system of Bank of the West, more than doubling its California presence.

The acquisition solidifies BancWest's position as one of the premier Western financial services franchises. BancWest now owns $34 billions in assets and serves 1.5 million customers from more than 350 branches in California, six other Western states, Guam and Saipan. Bank of the West will have $15 billion in deposits within California, ranking fourth in bank deposit market share in the nation's most populous state.

"In terms of business lines and geography, United California Bank is a perfect fit", said BancWest Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Walter A. Dods, Jr.

Don J. McGrath, President and Chief Operating Officer of BanWest and President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of the West, added : "United California's strong presence in Southern California complements Bank of the West's existing network in Northern California. We will be able to offer our brand of community banking and superior services to customers from San Diego to San Francisco."

Baudouin Prot, Director and Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas, stated that "this acquisition is fully consistent with the priorities of BNP Paribas group's strategic plan, which includes the expansion of retail banking, a highly profitable business line with substantial recurring profitability. It enables the group to capitalise on three major fronts : the Western US retail banking market with high potential to deliver shareholder value, the opportunity for significant cost and revenues synergies, as well as significant cross-selling opportunities within the group. The acquisition, after impact of goodwill, will be accretive as of 2003."