Employing a familiar strategy, LaSalle Financial Partners has increased its stake in a California thrift and may try to force its sale.

The Kalamazoo, Mich., institutional investor now owns 8.5% of HF Bancorp, Hemet, Calif.-parent of $1 billion-asset Hemet Federal Savings and Loan Association-after buying an additional 177,600 shares from May 20 to July 8. Its total stake is valued at about $9.6 million.

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