Surge In Mutuals Seeking To Convert To Stock

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WASHINGTON-The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is reporting a signficiant increase in the number of mutual holding companies to approved to convert to full stock companies. The OTS said that during a two-week span in May it endorsed applications for eight companies to convert; seven other conversions already have been completed this year.

According to American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal, among the most recent mutuals approved by OTS were Oneida Financial Corp. in New York, Fox Chase Bancorp Inc. in Hatboro, Penn., and Colonial Bankshares in Vineland, N.J.

Six of the conversions completed so far this year were standard conversions, in which mutuals sold all of their stock at once. (Some mutual companies go public in steps, selling a minority of shares initially, and the rest in a secondary offering later.) Yet the majority of the conversions approved in May involve mutual holding companies taking the second step to fully convert.

Also approved: Oritani Financial Corp. in Washington, N.J., Jacksonville Bancorp Inc. in Illinois, Ideal Federal Savings Bank in Baltimore, FedFirst Financial Corp. in Monessen, Pa., and ViewPoint Financial Group in Plano, Texas. Peoples Federal Bancshares Inc. in Brighton, Mass., and Savings Bank of Maine, a thrift in Gardiner, received approval last month for standard conversions.

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