Indiana's latest start-up hopes to fill a community banking void on the home turf of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

St. Joseph Capital Corp., now in the midst of its initial stock offering, plans to open a bank by early next year in Mishawaka, Ind., just southeast of South Bend - where the head organizer's father once served as Notre Dame's athletic director.

St. Joseph, named after the county in which South Bend and Mishawaka are located, would be the first new bank in north central Indiana in more than 20 years. Organizers plan to serve the surrounding region of Indiana and Michigan, known as Michiana.

"Consolidation has hit the Michiana marketplace pretty hard," said John W. Rosenthal, who is slated to be chairman, president, and chief executive of the new holding company and its bank.

A recent acquisition left the area with just one locally owned bank company, $1.8 billion-asset 1st Source Corp. of South Bend, Mr. Rosenthal said.

Similar consolidation has spurred new banks in many parts of the country. As new interstate banking and branching options take effect, many observers expect more new banks like St. Joseph that want to employ a local, service-oriented approach.

Mr. Rosenthal, 37, left First Chicago NBD Corp.'s flagship, First National Bank of Chicago, where he had worked since 1988 as a correspondent banker to Indiana and Illinois banks. "In my life, I want to be remembered as a difference-maker," he said.

His company has state approval to open St. Joseph Capital Bank and awaits the green light from the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Organizers intend to use $9 million from the nearly $9.2 million expected from the offering as initial capitalization.

Prospective directors include Richard Rosenthal, who headed the Notre Dame athletic program from 1987 to 1995 after running a local bank for 25 years.

John Rosenthal said his father would not be the only board member with strong recognition in the community. Notre Dame's chief investment officer and the heads of area manufactured housing and real estate development companies have also been chosen as directors.

"All of our directors are going to be very active in helping the bank grow," said the younger Mr. Rosenthal.

Two banks have opened in Indiana since last year, and three - including St. Joseph - await approval from federal regulators.

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