A new bank being organized in Washington, D.C., hopes to finance local small and midsize businesses that sell products internationally.

First International Bank of Washington has gotten preliminary charter approval from the District of Columbia's Office of Banking and Financial Institutions. It still must get approval from the District's City Council and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., according to Kimberly Hoover, a bank organizer. Ms. Hoover hopes to open the bank for business by the end of the first quarter.

First International would concentrate on lending to businesses with $10 million to $100 million of revenue.

"We believe there is a real need for export-import financing for businesses in this range," said Ms. Hoover, who is also a lawyer at Hoover Partners in Washington. "There is a real need to stimulate international trade among smaller businesses."

If the bank gets its charter, it will be the only one regulated by J. Anthony Romero, the District's superintendent of banking and financial institutions. All other banks operating in Washington have national charters, according to Mr. Romero.

Ms. Hoover said the bank has secured $5 million of start-up capital from its organizers.

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