Group with East West ties applies to open bank in New York

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A group with ties to East West Bancorp is looking to form a bank in New York.

Organizers have filed an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to open Piermont Bank, which would be headquartered in Midtown Manhattan. The application was not immediately available.

Ivy Financial Development in New York applied on April 30 to register the trademark for Piermont Bank. A Form D that Ivy filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early May includes three current and former executives of East West: Steve LaFredo, Johan Seo and Wendy Cai-Lee.

East West, which is based in Pasadena, Calif., had two branches in Brooklyn with $135 million in deposits in mid-2017, according to the most recent FDIC data. The company had about $900 million in commercial real estate loans and $1.2 billion in mortgages and home equity loans in New York at the end of the second quarter.

LaFredo is Texas regional director for East West, according to his LinkedIn profile. Seo’s LinkedIn profile says he was a deputy risk officer at East West, while Cai-Lee once was an executive vice president.

Cai-Lee declined to comment. A call to Matthew Frederick, the Reed Smith lawyer who put together Ivy’s trademark registration, and messages sent to LaFredo and Seo through LinkedIn were not immediately returned.

Piermont is the second New York de novo with an active application with the FDIC. Grasshopper Bank, which is seeking a national charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, submitted its application in November.

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Capital Community banking De novo institutions New York