The Bank of Princeton, a community bank with branches in Pennington, Hamilton, Princeton Borough, and Princeton Township, has acquired Philadelphia-based MoreBank, which caters primarily to Asian-American clientele.
According to a letter May letter to Bank of Princeton’s shareholders, the move is Bank of Princeton’s attempt to snare a piece of what has proved to be a lucrative Asian-American market.
MoreBank, operated entirely by Asians, will keep its name and be run as a division of the Bank of Princeton in Philadelphia and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
While Bank of Princeton’s move follows the lead of Robbinsville-based Roma Bank, which launched RomAsia in 2008 in an effort to cash in on the growing Asian-American population in Middlesex County, Bank of Princeton chairman Andrew Chon, right, says the acquisition has been in the works for some time.
A Korean immigrant himself — Chon came over as a child when his parents moved here to run “a little mom-and-pop business” and give their children a better life — Chon says he is aware of the sizable Asian-American population living “in pockets” between New Brunswick and Delaware. Short of Hispanics, Asians are the fastest-growing population sector in the region, and a bank catering to that population simply makes sense..
“We’re entertaining the idea of opening branches [of MoreBank] but we don’t know where specifically,” he says. Montgomery and Somerset counties, however, are on Bank of Princeton’s radar, as is Hamilton and Edison, where RomAsia recently open it’s second branch.
For now, Chon says, Bank of Princeton and MoreBank, the latter of which features tellers who speak an array of Asian languages, will concentrate on their stock-in-trade — their local focus.
“We leverage a lot of money for local business,” Chon says. Since opening in 2007, he says, Bank of Princeton has loaned roughly $200 million, almost all of it to businesses in Princeton and its immediate surroundings. “We’re looking to loan to local businesses, we’re just trying to find the right local businesses to help.”
The Bank of Princeton, 183 Bayard Lane, Princeton 08542-3719; 609-921-1700; fax, 609-921-8350. Andrew Chon, chairman. www.thebankofprinceton.com