Androscoggin Bank has applied for regulatory approval to spin off its trust department into a separate entity called Portland Trust Co., which would have offices in Portland and Lewiston.

The bank is in the process of notifying clients that it hopes to shift their business to the new company, which would have the same staff along with two additional wealth-management professionals Androscoggin has hired. Androscoggin created its existing trust department in 1993.

A trust company helps its clients manage their wealth, such as by setting up and administering trusts. Clients are often those with a high net worth.

Trust banking is a highly specialized business that is built around the needs of each individual client, which is why it made sense to create a distinct company, Androscoggin Vice President Melissa Rock said.

Although the bank is based in Lewiston, it chose the name Portland Trust to distinguish it as a separate brand, Rock said.

Androscoggin is more than halfway into a 30-day public notice period that is required before state and federal regulators can approve or deny its application to create the new entity. The bank hopes to receive approval in time to open its two Portland Trust offices in late summer or fall, Rock said.

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