If regulators approve Great Western Financial Corp.'s application for two commercial bank charters, it will have the advantages of being a thrift and a commercial bank at the same time, industry observers said.

The Chatsworth, Calif.-based company, owner of the nation's second- largest thrift, will be able to act like a bank but without having to pay the higher taxes levied on commercial banks, said Thomas O'Donnell, an analyst at Smith Barney.

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