After reviewing its alternatives, Monterey Bay Bancorp of Watsonville, Calif., said it would remain independent.

The board of the $464 million-asset thrift hired New York-based Sandler O'Neill & Partners this year to help it explore a potential sale. The move came after some of Monterey's larger shareholders voiced displeasure with the company's financial performance.

In an Oct. 22 statement, Monterey said it would continue to concentrate on its transition from a traditional thrift to a commercial bank by booking more high-yielding loans. The company, which operates eight branches, said third-quarter earnings more than doubled from a year earlier, to $950,000, or 28 cents per share.

-- Matt Andrejczak

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