NewStar Financial Inc., a Boston commercial finance company, says it wants to get a national bank charter and buy a troubled bank.
Though it has not struck a deal, NewStar said Tuesday that it is in talks to acquire a bank or invest in one. It did not identify any targets.
Two weeks ago federal regulators announced rule changes designed to increase access for private-equity firms and other nonbanks to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s bidding process for failed institutions.
NewStar said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it applied for permission from the Federal Reserve Board to become a bank holding company. Its plan is to form a subsidiary that would be chartered as a national bank and acquire another bank's assets and deposits.
The company also applied for a national bank charter through the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's new "shelf charter" process.
The OCC announced plans last month to create the charter, which would let companies to seek preapproval for a bank charter. Those that get preapproval can bid on failed institutions.
The charter's creation is a significant shift from the previous process, which allowed only depository institutions to participate in bidding.
The OCC said a broader field of bidders could reduce a failure's costs for the Deposit Insurance Fund and expand opportunities for private-equity firms and other nonbanking companies to enter the banking business.
The prereview includes evaluating the proposed management team, the capital available for a bank, and the proposed business plan.
NewStar said in the SEC filing that it cannot become a bank holding company until it purchases a bank.