LOS ANGELES and ST. CLOUD, Minn., Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Cetera Financial Group ® ("Cetera")*, a leading network of independent broker-dealer firms, and Cetera ® Financial Institutions today announced that Bank of Hope has joined Cetera Financial Institutions, which is specifically focused on serving the wealth management programs of banks and credit unions. The new relationship will enable Bank of Hope to expand and enhance its wealth management program, and to advance its efforts to recruit new financial advisors capable of serving the bank's large Korean-American clientele. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Bank of Hope is the largest Korean-American bank in the United States. With more than 80 branches across the country, primarily located on the East and West Coasts, Bank of Hope was formed in July 2016 through the merger of BBCN Bank and Wilshire Bank, both of which had a major presence in the Korean-American community. With more than $13 billion in assets, Bank of Hope is the seventh largest publicly traded bank headquartered in California. Its wealth management program has a total of almost $55 million in investment assets under management, including approximately $30 million of client advisory assets, as of September 30, 2016. Its wealth management program includes comprehensive investment and wealth management services for affluent and high-net-worth clients, as well as retirement, estate and business succession planning services for individuals and institutions. Catherine Bonneau, Chief Executive Officer of Cetera Financial Institutions, said, "We are very pleased to welcome Bank of Hope to our family of bank and credit union clients, and we look forward to helping it achieve its strategic goals over the coming years. We are especially eager to introduce its clients to our outstanding platform of wealth management products and solutions, and to help the bank meaningfully increase its in-house corps of financial advisors and bring aboard talented individuals who understand the wealth management needs of the Korean-American community. The addition of such a prestigious institution, with its highly loyal clientele, to the Cetera Financial Institutions platform is an exciting development, and we are confident that both Bank of Hope and its clients will be pleased with the exceptional services and capabilities accompanied by our relationship." Clem J. Shin, Senior Vice President, Head of Hope Wealth Management, said, "Bank of Hope is focused on significantly building up its wealth management program, to become a truly open-architecture provider of comprehensive investment services to our community. We look to Cetera and its broad platform of investment solutions to help Bank of Hope become a superior provider of wealth management services and we look forward to their close attention and support in helping us succeed. We are also enthusiastic about their partnership in helping us to identify appropriate new advisor candidates for our regions of greatest concentration, including the West Coast, Washington, New York, New Jersey, and the Chicago area." From its current base of two advisors, Bank of Hope seeks to grow to as many as six advisors over the near term and to as many as 15 to 20 advisors over the next five years.