Former top executives at LaSalle Bank are looking to start a bank that would acquire the assets and deposits of failed banks in and around Chicago.

According to a report in Crain's Chicago Business Thursday, the group filed an application with state regulators earlier this month to establish what would be the first new bank in Chicago since 2005, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data.

The organizing group is led by Harrison Tempest, a one-time chief executive officer at LaSalle's parent company, ABN Amro North America. ABN Amro sold LaSalle to Bank of America Corp. in 2007.

The other executives listed on the application are Louis Rosenthal, a former chief operating officer at LaSalle; R. Patricia Kelley, a former LaSalle commercial real estate lender who is listed as the new bank's chief credit officer; Kathleen Puffer, a former head of LaSalle's retail branch network; and Susan Gordy, a former head of government affairs at LaSalle who would be the chief legal and risk officer.

The new bank would be called Front Street Bank and would primarily target commercial customers, according to the application. The organizers did not disclose their plans for financing their operation and, in terms acquisitions, said only that they would look to bid on failed banks in the Chicago metropolitan statistical area, which stretches from Southeast Wisconsin to Northeast Indiana.

More than 30 Chicago-area banks have failed since the start of 2009, according to the FDIC, and industry observers have speculated that a dozen or more could fail before the real estate market recovers.

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