Former Bank of America Corp. and Wachovia Corp. executives are seeking $1 billion to fund a new bank that would acquire failing lenders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Milton Jones Jr., who retired from Bank of America in September as Georgia market president, would be chief executive officer of the proposed Blue Ridge Bank N.A., the group said in its application to the FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Blue Ridge hired FBR Capital Markets Inc. to help raise money, the application said.

"Through indications of interest from investors, the company will have the capacity of up to $1 billion in funding through its initial capital base," the application said. No investor will be allowed to own more than 9.9 percent of the shares, the application said.

Private investors are lining up money to buy distressed lenders after more than 180 banks failed since 2007. Some groups have recruited bank executives to improve their chances of winning approval from regulators. Former Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Hugh McColl Jr. and Chief Financial Officer Marc Oken are backing a group seeking $600 million to buy assets in Florida, Oken said in December.

Blue Ridge's organizers include Edward Brown III, former president of corporate and investment banking at Bank of America; Walter Davis, former executive vice president of retail credit and direct lending at Wachovia, and Charles Williams, former chief administrative officer of Bank of America's capital markets unit.

Brown, who retired in 2004, would be the bank's lead director, according to the application. Also listed as proposed directors are former Wachovia board member Robert Brown, a High Point, North Carolina, public relations consultant, and Robert Wright, a director at Columbus, Georgia-based insurer Aflac Inc.

Bank of America and Wachovia, now owned by Wells Fargo & Co., are based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Business Journal reported on Blue Ridge's application in today's edition.

The FDIC is anticipating bank failures will cost the insurance fund $100 billion through 2013. The agency had 552 banks with $345.9 billion in assets on its confidential problem list as of Sept. 30.

Calls to Jones and Dallas lawyer Peter Weinstock, who is listed on Blue Ridge's charter application, weren't immediately returned.

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