Blackstone teams with former Citizens Bank CEO

Former Citizens Financial CEO Steve Steinour is in early talks with The Blackstone Group to put together a fund to invest in distressed banks and financial institutions, sources familiar with the matter said.

Sources say that both sides of the partnership recognize the difficulty of raising a “multi-billion dollar” fund in the current environment.

Steinour joined Citizens in 1992, and a decade later was put in charge of the firm’s expansion south of New England. Steinour left Citizens in March to join Boston-based alternative asset manager CrossHarbor Capital Partners to help the real estate-focused firm launch a private equity program.

A Blackstone spokesman declined comment. CrossHarbour did not return a call for comment.

It is unclear how the proposed fund is being branded, but a source says that Steinour “will remain under the CrossHarbor umbrella,” with Blackstone as an affiliate on the actual fund. No word on how the financing will be split.

Steinour continues to live and work in the Philadelphia suburbs, where he once expressed interest in opening a CrossHarbor satellite office. —Dan Primack (Megan Davies of Reuters contributed to this report.)