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East West Bancorp Reports Record Net Income For Full Year 2011 Of $245 Million; Increase In Annual Dividend Rate To $0.40 And New $200 Million Common Stock Repurchase Program

East West Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: EWBC), parent company of East West Bank, the financial bridge between the United States and Greater China, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2011. For the fourth quarter of 2011, net income was $66.2 million or $0.43 per dilutive share. For the full year 2011, net income was $245.2 million and net income available to common stockholders was $1.60 per dilutive share.

“East West earned $245.2 million for the full year 2011, the highest ever in our history,” stated Dominic Ng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of East West. “In the fourth quarter of 2011, East West earned net income of $66.2 million or $0.43 per share, up from $62.4 million or $0.41 per share in the third quarter. In fact, throughout 2011, East West consecutively increased both net income and EPS each quarter.”

Ng continued, “These strong results for the fourth quarter and full year 2011 were a direct result of our success in growing the loan portfolio and core deposits to record levels, while maintaining tight control on operating expenses and significantly reducing credit costs. Although the current environment continues to pose challenges for the financial services industry, East West has been able to outperform many of its peers. During 2011, we grew our noncovered commercial loan portfolio to $3.1 billion and increased core deposits by 16% or $1.4 billion to $10.3 billion. This growth was achieved while we maintained strong expense control and improved the efficiency ratio to 43%.”

“East West ended 2011 with record assets of $22 billion and record earnings of $245.2 million. Our balance sheet is healthy and our capital levels are excellent. As such, I am pleased to announce that the board of directors has approved a 100% increase in the annual common stock dividend rate to $0.40 per share and has also authorized the repurchase of $200 million of our common stock. As we look to 2012, we are confident in our ability to prudently grow the balance sheet, improve our earnings power and return strong value to our shareholders,” concluded Ng.

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