Another securities company and an insurer gained the government's approval Wednesday to charter thrifts.

A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., the St. Louis-based brokerage firm, and Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, New York, plan to use their savings banks to set up trust operations, according to the Office of Thrift Supervision.

The two approvals bring the number of nonbanks to charter thrifts recently to seven; 22 applications are pending. Interest in the thrift charter has surged since last summer when Congress began debating whether to kill the charter.

In its approval orders, the OTS required both firms to insulate the savings banks from securities brokerage affiliates. The institutions also must make clear to customers which products are uninsured and which are covered by deposit insurance.

According to its Sept. 9 application, A.G. Edwards wants to fold its existing trust operations in Missouri, Texas, New Jersey, and Florida into A.G. Edwards Trust Co. FSB. With the savings bank charter, A.G. Edwards will be able to offer trust services nationwide.

Teachers Insurance is the country's third-largest life insurance company. Its companion organization, the College Retirement Equities Fund, is the largest pension system, according to the application.

To be called TIAA-CREF Trust Co., the thrift will provide fiduciary services to two million employees of educational and nonprofit research institutions. The life insurer's thrift, to be based in St. Louis, will not make loans or accept deposits from the public.

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