A New York investment group is planning to launch a minority-owned bank in Connecticut with three branches cast off by FleetBoston Financial Corp.

Urban Financial Group Inc. struck a deal this week to buy branches in Hartford and Bridgeport that Fleet Financial Group was ordered to divest as a condition of its purchase of BankBoston Corp. The investment group, run by Peter F. Hurst, a former lawyer for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., also plans to buy a branch in Bloomfield.

The branch deals would be Urban Financial's first venture in community banking, Mr. Hurst said. His group, which plans to apply for FDIC insurance and a state bank charter, was attracted to the branches because recent consolidations in Connecticut have created an opportunity for community banks, he said.

David Tedeschi, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Banking, said only two state-chartered banks set up shop in Connecticut during 1999. He said three others got temporary certificates and are working toward charters. No application has been received from Urban Financial, he said.

Urban Financial is to be a minority-controlled company headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, Mr. Hurst said. Though now privately held, the company may go public if it grows quickly, he said.

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