A group of Indian-American business people are preparing to establish a new bank in the District that would be the first to serve their community in this region and the third in the nation.

The institution will be a full-service commercial bank, tentatively named Regency National Bank.

It will specialize in providing financing for small ethnic businesses and remitting funds overseas for some of the estimated 40,000 Asian Indians and a like number of people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka who live in the metropolitan area.

The lead organizer is economist Vidya N. Singh of Hyattsville. A native of the Indian state of Bihar and now a U.S. citizen, he has lived in this region for 20 years. He publishes a weekly newspaper called Overseas Tribune for the Indian community.

Singh said he already has commitments of $2 million to capitalize the bank. The group expects eventually to raise $3.5 million or more by private solicitation. If its application is approved by federal regulators, the bank could open as early as the end of this year.

The other organizers and investors are Shailendra Kumar, a physician in Brentwood; S. K. Arurkar, owner of Allied Exterminating and related companies in Silver Spring; Surinder K. Arora, a physician in Clinton; Joseph H. Chopp Jr., a McLean attorney; and Maurice Feldman, executive vice president of Beitzell, a District liquor wholesaler. All are U.S. citizens.

Chopp, whose specialty is real estate law, said he had worked for a number of Asians. Feldman also said he had done business with Indian people and found them a "hard-working group."