A Washington, D.C., investment banking firm is seeking to acquire a 25% stake in the struggling Bank Plus Corp. of Los Angeles.

Hovde Financial Inc., which already owns 13.98% of the thrift company's stock, has applied with the Office of Thrift Supervision to acquire an additional 2.1 million shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week. Hovde would buy the shares through one of its limited partnerships, Pacific Financial Investors.

Hovde is also proposing to nominate its chief executive officer, Eric D. Hovde, to a seat on Bank Plus' board, the filing said.

Bank Plus, with $3.7 billion of assets, is the parent of Fidelity Federal Bank. In 1998 it lost $56 million, or $2.90 per share, mostly because of losses in its subprime credit card portfolio.

The losses caught the attention of the OTS, which has been monitoring the thrift's operations since the fall.

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