Wintrust Financial Corp. of Lake Forest, Ill., announced late Tuesday that it has raised $50 million in fresh capital through the sale of convertible preferred stock to a Chicago private equity firm.

Though $10 billion-asset, multi-bank holding company is already considered well-capitalized by regulators, president and chief executive officer Edward J. Wehmer said now is a good time for the company to strengthen its capital base. The stock sale would raise its total risk-based capital ratio to 10.8%.

"We have chosen to raise capital given our belief that a stronger balance sheet is a valuable asset in today's uncertain economic environment," Mr. Wehmer said in a news release.

The buyer is CIVC Partners and stock carries an 8% quarterly dividend. The shares are convertible into common stock at $27.38 per share.

Wintrust's stock closed at $21.62 Tuesday, up 1.31%.

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