A New York investment fund is stepping up its pressure on Foothill Independent Bancorp of Glendora, Calif.

Basswood Financial Partners LP, which has called for the sale of Foothill since November, last week nominated its managing director, Matthew Lindenbaum, to the board of the $468 million-asset banking company.

Meanwhile, Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County has granted Basswood's request to examine Foothill's corporate and accounting records. A previous request was denied when the court ruled that Basswood had not requested the information under the name in which it held the shares.

Basswood, which owns 9.34% of Foothill's stock through limited partnerships, is displeased with the company's financial performance. The investment fund said Mr. Lindenbaum would bring an independent voice to Foothill's board and offer "fresh ideas and insights" that would better represent the interests of the company and its shareholders, according to documents filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Basswood said Foothill should explore merger opportunities because the fast pace of acquisitions and significant premiums may disappear. Foothill's annual meeting is scheduled May 25. Its insiders control 22.5% of outstanding shares.

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