An Iowa businessman has started a thrift whose name echoes that of a bank he used to control.

William A. Krause was the controlling shareholder of $621 million-asset Liberty Financial of West Des Moines. That company was sold in February of last year to Commercial Federal Corp. of Omaha.

Commercial Federal folded the seller's banks, including Liberty Bank and Trust, into its own Commercial Federal Bank. But last month Mr. Krause and a group of local investors opened a federally chartered thrift in West Des Moines called Liberty Bank.

The new Liberty plans to focus on small-business banking, as the old one did.

Commercial Federal was unaware of Mr. Krause's latest venture, said Larry Goddard, first vice president and spokesman for the $11.1 billion- asset company.

"I'm very surprised that they used the name 'Liberty Bank,'" he said.

Mr. Goddard said Mr. Krause, who sits on Commercial Federal's board and now controls about 3.6% of its shares, had no agreement that would have barred him from starting a bank or re-using the Liberty name.

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