BankAmerica may soon acquire an indirect link to the growing business of subprime lending.

The San Francisco-based company's venture capital unit - Continental Illinois Venture Corp. - is actively shopping for a company whose specialty is supplying loans to people with tarnished credit histories.

Companies that make so-called B and C loans are experiencing significant expansion, a status that appeals to Continental Illinois Venture Corp.

Two of the venture group's top executives were spotted earlier this month at a conference devoted to B and C lending, studiously taking notes and talking to accountants and attorneys about valuations.

One of the executives acknowledged that the venture unit is indeed looking seriously at the subprime industry.

The executive, who asked to remain anonymous, said the company typically invests $5 million to $25 million to acquire a controlling stake. Through the investment, the unit will buy out management or, at the very least, seek representation on the board.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.