PL Capital, upset that Metro Bancorp refuses to sell itself, has launched a proxy battle to gain two board seats at the Harrisburg, Pa., company.

The investment firm, which owns nearly 9% of Metro's stock, is one of several investors that have been pushing the $2.2 billion-asset company to find a buyer, citing underperformance as the issue. To PL Capital's consternation, Metro instead announced plans last week to cut annual operating expenses by $3 million while adding three independent directors.

PL Capital said in a press release Monday that it will nominate Richard Lashley, one if the investment group's principals, and William Houlihan, an investment banking veteran who focused on commercial banks while at Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, and JPMorgan Chase. Houlihan stepped down as the chief financial officer of Amalgamated Bank in New York in February.

Metro typically holds its annual meetings in May.

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