The Office of Thrift Supervision on Thursday proposed a new mutual holding company structure that would allow thrifts to avoid paying high taxes in stock buybacks.

Under the proposed three-tier structure, a federally chartered stock holding company would be sandwiched between a thrift and its mutual parent company. This intermediate holding company would hold all of the thrift's stock, but would be able to issue up to 49% to the public. The proposal would require at least 51% to be owned by the mutual holding company.

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