A Florida company seeking to create an Internet-based thrift for gay and lesbian borrowers plans to focus on consumer lending and small-business loans.

G&L Holding Group Inc., Pensacola, Fla., would originate first and second residential mortgages, issue equity-based lines of credit, make new and used car loans, and offer credit card services, according to its application to the Office of Thrift Supervision.

The thrift, which awaits approval from the OTS, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and state bank regulators, would also make Small Business Administration loans of $250,000 to $750,000 and would offer credit card processing services to businesses.

G&L Bank plans to open for business Oct. 11, which is National Coming Out Day.

"G&L Bank would provide a nonthreatening, confidential, and 'safe' environment through which to secure such loans for gay and lesbian consumers throughout the nation," the firm wrote in its OTS application. "To date, these needs have been largely ignored."

G&L Bank would have a branch in Pensacola, but the company expects most of its business to come via the Internet, telephone, and fax. Loan officers would use overnight delivery services to exchange original documents and would establish nationwide relationships with realtors, closing companies, title agencies, abstract offices, and law firms.

To accommodate customers who are closeted or uninterested in advertising their sexual orientation, G&L Bank plans to offer two versions of many products, such as its checkbooks: one that explicitly promotes the bank's mission, and one that does not. -Scott Barancik

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