One Main Street LLC, an investment fund in New York City, has announced an agreement to buy the tiny Liberty Bank Inc. in Salt Lake City with a plan to expand it into a regional bank.
At Dec. 31, Liberty Bank had $15 million of assets.
One Main Street was formed late last year by veteran bankers with an initial capitalization of $300 million.
The New York company has filed with the Federal Reserve to become a bank holding company.
Industry veterans who are founders of One Main Street include Richard Uhlig, a former chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley Bank; Scott Bowen, a former chief financial officer of Deutsche Bank AG in the Americas and Asia-Pacific; Daniel Garcia, a former senior portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch Bank USA; Allen Levinson, a former partner at KMV and the founder, principal and chief operating officer of Credit Risk Advisors, and Paul Jacobson, a former partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co.
One Main Street said in a press release late Tuesday that it intends to build a regional company in the intermountain West; buying failed banks is to play a prominent role.
"We see that many banks, large and small, have lost their way and remain singularly focused on short-term profits," Uhlig, One Main Street's chief executive officer, said in the press release.
"It's no mystery why Americans have such little faith in their financial institutions," he continued. "In contrast, One Main Street will build long-term value by sticking to the basics: We will be the trusted storehouse of value for wage earners and businesses, and we will prudently lend into our communities to build economic vitality."
Liberty Bank, a state-chartered institution, was founded in 1956 by its current chairman, Ray Phillips.
Liberty CEO Kendall Phillips said in the press release, "It is clear to us that One Main Street has the integrity, experience and capital to expand our platform and build a great regional bank."
At Dec. 31, Liberty Bank reported a little more than 10% of its assets as nonperforming.
It was well capitalized by regulatory standards, with an 11.09% leverage ratio, an 18.91% Tier 1 risk-based ratio and a 20.17% total risk-based ratio.