A group of activist bank investors has launched a proxy fight against Hinsdale, Ill.-based Alliance Bancorp.

LaSalle Financial Partners in Kalamazoo, Mich., nominated three candidates last week for seats on the board of the $2.1 billion-asset company. LaSalle, which controls 4.9% of Alliance's shares, criticized Alliance for its lackluster performance during the first quarter and vowed to push for a sale if its slate is elected at the June annual meeting, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For the period ending March 31, Alliance reported a return on equity of 9.9%, down from 10.97% a year earlier, and a return on assets of 0.94%, down from 1.04%.

Executives from Alliance were not immediately available for comment, but the company noted in its own proxy materials that the LaSalle contest would cost Alliance $160,000.

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