Hoping to turn up the heat on an acquisition target, a $375 million- asset suburban Chicago bank holding company has gone public with its offer to buy an area thrift.

Success Bancshares of Lincolnshire offered to pay $32.8 million of stock for North Bancshares, a $120 million-asset company headquartered in Chicago, according to Saul D. Binder, president and chief executive officer of Success.

Mr. Binder said he is going after the thrift because it has branches in high-income areas on Chicago's North Side and in the tony suburb of Wilmette. "It's a good location with strong deposits and no loan problems," he said.

Success first approached North Bancshares' management and 500 shareholders two months ago. But its offer was ignored. Success went public with its bid in an effort to force a response, Mr. Binder said. "We would like to make this an amicable deal, but they rebuffed us," he said.

Reached by phone Friday, North Bancshares president and chief executive officer Mary Ann Hass would not comment.

Success, which has owned about 1% of North Bancshares' stock for two years, has had a history of conflict with the company. Mr. Binder said Success proposed a slate of directors and some resolutions to be included in North's proxy statement last year, but the items were omitted.

"Our problem in this instance is, you have management that just wants to sit there and collect paychecks," he said.

Chicago-area industry observers said that Success' publicizing its offer draws attention in a hot acquisition market to North Bancshares.

"This could put a little pressure on, with everyone knowing the offer is out there," said Daniel E. Cardenas, a bank analyst at Howe Barnes Investments in Chicago.

Success' chances of acquiring North may not be very good, however. Hostile offers typically fail in the banking industry, said Daniel C. McKay 2d, a banking lawyer at Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz in Chicago.

The bid has other drawbacks as well, for example, being a relatively low two-times book value. In addition, the bidding bank company's stock price is not well established because it only went public this fall.

"This is not a blow-out offer," Mr. McKay said, "but it may prompt the company to see what else is out there."

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