BANK of America (Asia) yesterday opened a branch in Devon House, Quarry Bay, the first new outlet since it changed its name from Security Pacific Asian Bank (SPAB) in July. The name change was designed to signify the bank's close connection with its parent company. The new name and branch are seen as signs of Bank of America's return to retail banking in Asia, after it pulled out of the territory's retail sector in the mid-1980s. When Bank of America merged with Security Pacific Bank 18 months ago to create one of the largest banking corporations in the US, it gained SPAB. After months of speculation over a possible sale of SPAB it announced the name change to quell rumours of a ''fire sale''. Including the new branch, the bank now has 20 branches in Hong Kong and two in Macau. Meanwhile, the bank has been looking at streamlining its operations, with the parent concentrating on wholesale banking with a Hong Kong base, and the Asian bank concentrating on retail banking and being more Asia-focused. The bank is also considering a return to credit-card issuing in Hong Kong. Bank of America (Asia) president and chief executive officer James Hulihan said: ''After the merger we spent 12 months evaluating the situation, and we decided to shift our focus towards the retail operation, with new branches now and in 1994. ''In addition to this new branch, we are also looking at opening two more branches in Hong Kong. Overall we are hoping to raise our profile and get back into the market.''