Stilwell Group has given management teams of four thrifts cause to worry while removing pressure from 10 other financial companies.

The New York investment group, which has a history of pressuring management teams, disclosed in a regulatory filing Monday that it had acquired a 9.2% stake in Hamilton Bancorp (HBK). The firm said in its filing that it would seek board representation at the Baltimore thrift if management ignores its suggestions to "maximize shareholder value."

The investment firm, led by Joseph Stilwell, also disclosed new stakes in HomeTrust Bancshares (HTBI) in Asheville, N.C.; HopFed Bancorp (HFBC) in Hopkinsville, Ky.; and LSB Financial (LSBI) in Lafayette, Ind.

All four of the institutions converted to stock-owned companies from mutual thrifts. Hamilton converted on Oct. 10, raising $37 million, while HomeTrust converted in July with a $208 million stock offering. HopFed, and LSB converted in the 1990s.

Stilwell sold all of his holdings in 10 different institutions, including Beneficial Mutual Bancorp (BNCL) in Philadelphia; Capitol Federal Financial (CFFN) in Topeka, Kan.; and Meridian Interstate Bancorp (EBSB) in East Boston, Mass.

Stilwell remains involved in litigation against First Financial Northwest (FFNW) in Renton, Wash. The $973 million-asset thrift recently blamed a lawsuit filed by the firm for part of its third-quarter loss. Stilwell is seeking to invalidate the results of First Financial's board elections, in which Stilwell's nominee lost.

Stilwell could not be reached for additional comment.

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