The government has approved a request by Ukrop's Super Markets Inc., Richmond, Va., to charter a federal thrift.

The Office of Thrift Supervision in an Oct. 23 order gave the grocery store chain permission to organize First Market Bank in Memphis.

Ukrop's Super Markets is forming the thrift in conjunction with Memphis- based National Commerce Bancorp. to launch at least two dozen supermarket branches in and around Richmond. This would be the first supermarket- banking joint venture; although banks have opened in-store branches, retailers typically act only as landlords.

Ukrop's Super Markets and National Commerce are expected to split the estimated $10 million initial capitalization cost and share equally in profits.

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