Orange County Business Journal

U.S. Metro Bank Looks Beyond Kor-Am Niche

Jane Yu Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Garden Grove-based U.S. Metro Bank has added new executives as part of recent efforts to broaden its customer reach beyond the Korean-American community.

The bank tapped veterans Mary Gomes and Jim Shih as chief credit officer and chief financial officer, respectively.

Gomes held the same title at Omni Bank in Alhambra, which focuses primarily on the Chinese-American market.

Shih was CFO with Rowland Heights-based First General Bank, which also serves the Chinese-American niche.

U.S. Metro had about $92.9 million in assets and $78.7 million in deposits at the end of last year.

The bank started in 2006 to cater to the Korean-American community, with most of the staff speaking Korean, according to Chief Executive Officer William Im.

“But now the bank needs to change and diversify the structure,” Im said. “We are adding some different ethnic groups.”

Korean-American customers currently make up about 80% of the bank’s customer base. Im said he hopes to see other ethnic populations account for about half in the next few years.

The new hires will help, Im said, considering the demographics in Garden Grove and neighboring areas, which are home to many Vietnamese-Americans, many of whom also speak Chinese dialects.