LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Los Angeles-based BBCN Bancorp Inc. and Chicago-based Foster Bankshares Inc. announced a merger deal today that would make BBCN the leading Korean American bank in Chicago and position it to serve the Washington, D.C., market.

“This partnership underscores BBCN’s strategic objective to be the dominant Korean American bank in the markets in which we operate,” said Kevin S. Kim, chairman and chief executive officer of BBCN Bancorp.

Foster Bankshares listed total assets of $412.6 million, total loans of $326.9 million and total deposits of $357.4 million, as of December 31. Foster Bank, founded in 1989 as one of the first Korean American banks in the Chicago area, is a state-chartered bank, with eight branches in the Chicago metro area
and one in Annandale, Va.

The merger is expected to close in the second half of 2013, subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

The transaction is valued around $4.6 million, with each share of Foster common stock at $34.67, according to the banks.

On a pro forma combined basis including BBCN’s recent acquisition of Pacific International Bancorp and the proposed acquisition Foster Bankshares, BBCN would have total assets of $6.2 billion, total loans outstanding of $4.8 billion and total deposits of $4.9 billion as of Dec. 31.