Anchor Bancorp Wisconsin plans to buy back up to 216,030 shares of its outstanding common stock, representing a 5% stake.

The $1.4 billion-asset company has received approval from the Office of Thrift Supervision. The buyback will occur during the next six months as market conditions dictate, the company said.

"We think it's a good use of company resources," said Douglas J. Timmerman, president and chief executive of the Madison, Wis.-based banking company.

The repurchase is the fourth since Anchor went public in July 1992 when it issued five million shares. If the buyback is completed, the company will have reacquired almost 800,000 shares, Mr. Timmerman said.

Anchor will hold the repurchased shares as treasury stock and make them available for general corporate purposes, which could include the company's Esops, stock-incentive plans, and management-recognition plans, he said. Anchor owns AnchorBank, a state-chartered savings association. For its fiscal fourth quarter, ended March 31, Anchor earned $3.2 million, up from $3.1 million a year ago. For its fiscal year the thrift earned $13.5 million, compared with $10.9 million a year earlier.

Employee Stock Ownership Encouraged

Meantime, Iroquois Bancorp, of Auburn, N.Y., said that its employee stock ownership plan intends to buy up to 16,000 shares of the company's common stock on the open market as shares become available at acceptable prices.

Iroquois, the $400 million-asset holding company for Cayuga Savings Bank, Auburn, and Homestead Savings, Utica, N.Y., stresses employee stock ownership, said Marianne R. O'Connor, treasurer and chief financial officer.

"If the community and employees own your shares, they'll support you and encourage your growth and profitability," Ms. O'Connor said.

War Chest for Possible Expansion

She noted that the company has 35% insider ownership, including the employee stock ownership plan.

In addition, the purchase was necessary because Iroquois' employee base expanded with the acquisition of Homestead in 1991, and for possible long-term expansion, the company said.

The plan, which currently owns 8.7% of Iroquois' common stock, will not increase its holdings to more than 9.9% at this time.

Iroquois went public in 1986 and the employee stock ownership plan purchased nearly 85,000 shares in 1988 in a leveraged transaction.

The company reported first-quarter net income of $572,000, down from $1.1 million a year ago. The results reflect a $933,000 pretax loss on Cayuga's mobile-home loan portfolio, realized when the entire portfolio was sold.

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