Tags: steve | ross | banks

Steve Ross Seeks to Buy Banks

Thursday, 17 Sep 2009 12:12 PM

By Dan Weil

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Real estate titan Stephen Ross has gained preliminary approval from regulators to form a new bank, which would allow him to buy failed banks seized by the government.

Ross is chartering SJB National Bank with the two other partners in his company, Related Cos., Jeff Blau and Bruce Beal.

Related, the real estate developer responsible for Time Warner Center in New York, is competing with several private equity and real estate firms to snap up the assets of condo lender Corus Bankshares, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Corus is expected to be taken over by regulators soon.

During the spring, Ross and his partners filed an application with the Office of the Comptroller of Currency to form SJB.

The OCC granted the troika preliminary approval in late July, according to a letter the agency released last month, The Journal reports. Related wouldn’t have an equity stake in the bank.

SJB's application didn't mention any specific acquisition targets, The Journal reports.

But the OCC's approval letter said SJB won't "commence operations until after its bid for a particular institution is accepted" by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Private equity mogul Wilbur Ross (no relation) is another big name trying to buy banks. The FDIC has loosened rules for private equity firms taking over failed banks enough to convince him to get in the game.

“We will now be able to be a bidder,” the billionaire investor told Reuters.

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