T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., Baltimore, and Aetna Inc., Hartford, Conn., have asked the government for permission to operate a savings and loan, bringing to 35 the number of nonbanks that have applied for thrift charters this year.

Price, the country's third-largest direct marketer of mutual funds, said it faces increased competition from commercial and savings banks that offer investment products. It plans to use T. Rowe Price Savings Bank to market deposits nationwide, but does not intend to be a lender, according to its application.

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