Texas Bank Grows Fast with a Pan-Asian Strategy

By Fajt, Marissa | American Banker, December 12, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Texas Bank Grows Fast with a Pan-Asian Strategy

Fajt, Marissa, American Banker

For a small, niche bank, United Central Bank in Garland, Tex., has big plans.

The unit of Central Bancorp Inc. targets Asian-Americans, and in the last two years it has sprinkled loan production offices around Asian-American communities in eight states. Now, several of the business loan offices have matured, and the bank is converting some of them into full-service branches and looking to bulk up in Atlanta by acquiring a bank there.

United has more than doubled its asset size in the last three years, to $750 million, and president and chief executive officer Keith Ward said its goal is to have $1 billion of assets by the end of next year.

Mr. Ward said he believes the bank can reach this goal because its strategy is different from those of most other Asian-focused banks. Rather than catering to specific ethnic communities, such as Chinese or Korean immigrants, United Central targets business owners in a wide range of Asian communities. In all, its staff communicates with customers in 24 languages, including Urdu, Vietnamese, Korean, Hindi, and Chinese.

"There are some areas where banks are not catering to all the different segments of the population that we cater to because so many [Asian-American] banks are specific to one culture," he said.

Among community banks, United Central ranks as one of the nation's largest originators of Small Business Administration loans. It chooses its target markets by looking for areas where the Asian population is growing and its model could be implemented. The bank does not look for growth in one particular ethnic group; instead, it picks an area and then builds its business around the experienced bankers it hires.

For example, one experienced lender the bank hired in the Los Angeles area is familiar with the city's Persian community, which wasn't targeted when United decided to go to the area. But now the bank is also seeking business in this community.

"We've noticed a large Persian population that we think we can penetrate," Mr. Ward said. "It is based on the person who becomes in charge and their experience."

In Rockville, Md., the company saw a growing Chinese population and hired a Chinese-speaking banker to manage its new branch.

Mr. Ward said that 95% of the bank's customers can speak English so that language is not necessarily a barrier but that speaking customers' native language does make them feel more comfortable.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Texas Bank Grows Fast with a Pan-Asian Strategy


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?