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Former East West exec emerges to head new de novo

Former East West Bank executive Wendy Cai-Lee is launching a new bank, according to an application filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The proposed de novo is called Piermont Bank NA and will target privately owned small- to medium-sized businesses with products such as commercial and industrial and commercial real estate loans, depository and treasury management products and some international products such as letters of credit and international wires. It is also planning to offer private client services such as consumer lending and banking services for business owners, their companies and families, as well as lending in specialized industry segments such as healthcare. The bank will plant roots in the New York area but could eventually expand to other urban coastal communities.

Ivy Financial Development LLC is the organizational entity for the proposed bank. Cai-Lee, a manager at Ivy Financial and former head of business and consumer banking at East West Bank, declined to comment.

Other proposed executives include Frank Fusco as chief financial officer, Steve LaFredo as chief banking officer, Johan Seo as general counsel and chief risk officer and Robert DeStefano as chief information officer.

Named directors include Janie Barrera, founder and CEO of nonprofit small-business lender LiftFund; Julia Gouw, retired president and COO of East West Bank and East West Bancorp Inc.; Clarence Kwan; and Charles Roff, former director of MetroCorp Bancshares Inc.

Piermont Bank has total capital plans of $100 million that include an initial public offering. It listed space within 4 Bryant Park, New York City, as its proposed head office. Organizers filed the application Aug. 7.