California BTMU unit eyes purchase


UnionBanCal Corp., a California-based unit of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, says it has agreed to acquire a local bank holding company for about $1.5 billion.

The U.S. financial holding company aims to complete the acquisition of the Santa Barbara-based Pacific Capital Bancorp in the October-December quarter, it said Monday.

UnionBanCal has not had a strong presence in the area. The acquisition is hoped to boost its network of branches and clients, expanding the firm’s operational base in California.

Pacific Capital owns Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, a midsize local bank, which operates about 50 branches in and around the city. The holding company has total assets of $5.9 billion.

BTMU has been accelerating overseas operations, including in the United States and Asia, as demand for capital in Japan has been slumping.