Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin (ABCW) is trimming a chunk of its obligations.

The $2.7 billion-asset parent of AnchorBank in Madison, Wis., said Wednesday it has prepaid $150 million in advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank System that were due in 2015.

Though Anchor BanCorp's paying off the loans early triggered a penalty of $3.5 million, the move is expected to save the company roughly $2.1 million a year in interest.

Anchor BanCorp also said that its payment would improve its net interest margin and lift its Tier 1 leverage ratio to 4.77% from 4.63%, which it reported on Sept. 30.

The early payment represents part of the company's strategy "to increase bank profitability," Chris Bauer, Anchor BanCorp's chief executive, said in a news release

"Even though the bank's cash position has been reduced by $150 million, the bank's balance sheet remains strong as we continue to maintain a high degree of liquidity."

Anchor BanCorp has taken steps recently to address its capital needs. The company owes roughly $116.3 million to a group of lenders led by U.S. Bancorp (USB) that matures on June 30. Anchor BanCorp also owes the lenders $53.9 million in unpaid interest.

Anchor BanCorp owes the Treasury Department $23.1 million in dividend payments on $110 million in preferred stock the company pledged to Treasury in January 2009 in exchange for funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The company has yet to repay any of the Tarp funds.

Anchor BanCorp lost $12.1 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $19.6 million for the same period in 2011. The year-over-year improvement primarily reflected a 70% decrease in the company's loan-loss provision, which totaled $5.3 million. Nonperforming assets for the quarter fell 28%, to $251.5 million, from a year earlier.

Bauer told American Banker recently the company plans to boost lending to consumers and companies in the coming year. "We've been shrinking but we don't want to shrink anymore," Bauer said. "We're really trying to get back on the offense."

Sandler O'Neill and Partners is advising Anchor BanCorp on capital matters.

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