BBCN (ticker: CLFC, exchange: NASDAQ Global Select Market (.O))
News Release -
Center Financial Announces Management Team Changes; Company Aligns Corporate Structure to Support Next Stage of Growth
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 13, 2004--To broaden current
organizational strengths and establish a more scalable infrastructure
to support continued growth, Center Financial Corporation
(Nasdaq:CLFC) today announced newly created corporate positions,
promotions and recent appointments. The company also said that its
chief financial officer, Yong Hwa (Y.H.) Kim, has left the company to
pursue other opportunities.
"Center Bank has achieved tremendous growth, reaching in excess of
$1 billion in total assets at March 31, 2004 from less than $300
million five years ago," said (Paul) Seon-Hong Kim, president and
chief executive officer. "Y.H. was a valuable member of the management
team during this initial phase of growth, and we wish her well in her
"As we begin our search for a new chief financial officer, we are
pleased to have a strengthened accounting department with the added
expertise of two important appointments," said Kim. "We have also been
enhancing our management structure to better leverage the expertise of
senior management and to position our organization for new levels of
The company named Debbie Kong as controller and James Park as
treasurer of Center Financial.
Among the management changes: responsibilities of the chief
lending officer have been separated to two new positions. James Hong,
currently chief lending officer, was promoted to executive vice
president and chief credit officer, responsible for loan portfolio
management, risk assessment/management and loan processing, as well as
overseeing general lending operations. Other responsibilities will be
assumed by Sung C. Lee, who was promoted to executive vice president
and chief marketing officer from senior vice president and manager of
Center Bank's Olympic Office. In the new position, Mr. Lee is
responsible for the development and introduction of loan products and
supports the lending activities of the company's 18 profit centers.
Additionally, Jong Ha Choi was promoted to executive vice
president and chief information officer, responsible for leading the
company's development of innovative products and services to further
enhance Center Bank's relationships with its customers. Hong Sik Hur
was promoted to executive vice president and chief administrative
officer from senior vice president and branch support executive.
Also, James Ryu was promoted to senior vice president and is
responsible for areas of compliance, including regulatory
communications, examination coordination, fair lending and BSA/USA
PATRIOT Act. He also has assumed responsibility for human resources,
public relations, advertising and investor relations.
From 1997 to most recently, Ms. Debbie Kong served as a first vice
president and accounting officer at Pacific Union Bank, responsible
for the supervision and production of financial statements and
regulatory reports for filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission and banking examiners. Previously, she was an accounting
officer at Center Bank responsible for accounts payable, fixed assets
and overall financial data reports and regulatory report production.
Ms. Kong earned her bachelor of arts in business administration from
California State University in Fullerton.
Mr. James Park worked with Pacific Union Bank as first vice
president and investment manager, responsible for all treasury
operational activities and directing the strategy and execution of the
hedging of interest rate risk exposures, cash management and
reporting. His prior banking experience includes successively
responsible appointments at Manufacturers Bank, East West Bancorp and
Bank of America. Mr. Park holds a bachelor of arts in economics from
University of California, Berkeley.
Kim added: "This expanded leadership structure is aligned with our
guiding principles: Our unyielding aim is to become a
performance-oriented organization, supported by measurable results,
leading toward superior customer service and exceptional reputation.
We believe our commitment to these principles will keep us on the path
to deliver more in terms of customer and shareholder value and to
continue our record of strong growth and sound profitability."
About Center Financial Corporation
Center Financial Corporation, the financial holding company of
Center Bank, had total assets of $1.1 billion at March 31, 2004.
Founded in 1986, Center Bank is a community bank offering a full-range
of financial services and is one of the nation's largest financial
institutions focusing on the Korean-American community. It specializes
in commercial and SBA loans and trade finance products for
multi-ethnic and small business customers. Center Bank operates 14
full-service branches in Southern California and Chicago, plus five
loan production offices located in Phoenix, Seattle, Denver,
Washington D.C. and Las Vegas. Center Bank is a California
state-chartered and FDIC-insured financial institution.
This release may contain forward-looking statements, which are
included in accordance with the "safe harbor" provisions of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The cautionary
statements contained in Center Financial Corporation's filings made
from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission are
incorporated herein by reference. Actual results and performance in
future periods may be materially different from any future results or
performance suggested by the forward-looking statements in this
release. Center Financial Corporation and Center Bank caution readers
not to place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking
statements speak only as of the date of this release. Center Financial
Corporation and Center Bank expressly disclaim any obligation to
update or revise any forward-looking statements found herein to
reflect any changes in any of the companies' expectations of results
or any change in events.
CONTACT: Center Financial Corporation
James Ryu, 213-251-2206
Angie Yang/Cecilia Wilkinson, 310-279-5980
SOURCE: Center Financial Corporation