CapGen Financial Partners, a private-equity firm founded by former Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig, has signed a letter of intent to invest up to $15 million in Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida.

The $2.1 billion-asset Stuart company has been trying to raise capital, in part so it can resume paying dividends on the $50 million of preferred shares it issued to the government through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Seacoast said Monday that CapGen would buy 6 million shares at the same price at which Seacoast is selling stock in a separate public offering, but for no more than $2.50 a share.

The public offering, which commenced last week, was reduced to 28.5 million shares to reflect CapGen's proposed investment. If the public offering's underwriters exercised an option to issue additional shares, the New York firm would end up with a stake of roughly 10%. It would also get the right to appoint a director to Seacoast's board.

Seacoast, suffering from heavy loan losses, suspended Tarp dividends in May to conserve capital.

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