BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A group of business owners and executives is forming a community bank in Bellingham, Wash., called Bank Northwest.

The group is raising between $4 million and $5 million in initial capital, said one of the organizers, Arnie Wright. He will serve as president and chief executive of the bank, which is scheduled to open in September in this Seattle suburb.

Mr. Wright said mergers among larger institutions in the state have created an opportunity for small banks to woo dissatisfied customers.

"Our mission is to be the best in our market area," Mr. Wright said.

Bob Moles Jr., an organizer and acting chairman of the board, said a diversified director base "will greatly contribute to the success of the bank."

The directors "bring a strong commitment of service to the community and quality to the bank," said Mr. Moles, who owns funeral homes.

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