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June 27 2013

Operation HOPE Welcomes Esther Wee, Cathay Bank Executive, to Southwest Board of Directors

LOS ANGELES – June 27, 2012 – Operation HOPE (HOPE) today announced that Senior Vice President and CRA Officer for Cathay Bank, Esther Wee has been appointed to the organization’s Southwest Board of Directors. With her appointment, she becomes the newest silver rights ambassador in the global financial dignity nonprofit’s mission to promote free enterprise and empower the underserved.
Ms. Wee has more than 20 years of management experience in domestic and international banking (Pacific Rim focus). Her well-rounded banking experience spans from commercial and real estate lending, international trade finance, foreign exchange, capital markets to compliance. She has a proven track record in marketing, business development, credit, and cross-border financing serving Fortune 500 companies to SME's. 
Ms. Wee is the Senior Vice President and CRA Officer for Cathay Bank, where she has served in various capacities including Senior Vice President and Manager of the Multi-Cultural Corporate Lending Group, and Senior Vice President and Credit Administrator. She also served as Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Banking (C&I) at Chinatrust Bank, Senior Vice President and Manager of Pacific Rim Corporate Banking at Bank of the West, and Vice President and Manager of the Asian Business team in Southern California at Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank. 
Ms. Wee earned an MBA in Finance and Accounting at Washington University and currently serves as a Director of the American Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter and the President of the Singapore American Business Association- Southern California. 
In 1962, Cathay Bank opened for business with the mission of providing financial services to the growing but underserved Chinese-American community in the greater Los Angeles area, thus becoming the first Chinese-American bank in Southern California. Recognizing that the community it served was part of a more diverse one, Cathay Bank adopted the motto "An Open Door for All." Its rapid expansion was fueled by successive waves of immigration, burgeoning trade between America and Asia, and the economic development of the surrounding community.
Today, Cathay Bank is a subsidiary of Cathay General Bancorp (NASDAQ: CATY), a publicly held bank holding company with over $10.69 billion in assets as of December 31, 2012.  Cathay Bank currently operates 31 branches in California, eight branches in New York State, one in Massachusetts, two in Texas, three in Washington State, three in the Chicago, Illinois area, one in New Jersey, one in Nevada, one in Hong Kong, and a representative office in Taipei and in Shanghai.
HOPE Boards are comprised of some of the nation's most powerful executives, decision-makers, bankers and economists. These individuals play an essential role in driving HOPE’s Silver Rights Movement to expand economic opportunity, and make capitalism and free enterprise accessible it underserved communities a complete 2013 list of HOPE Board members may be viewed at
About Operation HOPE (HOPE)


Since its inception in 1992, HOPE, a global nonprofit focused on financial dignity, has empowered more than 2 million individuals and directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to America's low-wealth communities. It has recruited a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and helped raise average credit scores for financial case management clients more than 120 points over an average 18-month period. It currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and most recently, the United Arab Emirates. Its effort to empower underserved communities, is a “silver rights” mission to make free enterprise work for everyone.  For more information, please visit