CMS Energy Corp., a public utility in Dearborn, Mich., is trying to charter a federal savings bank.

CMS has asked the Office of Thrift Supervision for permission to set up a unitary thrift holding company, CMS Enerbank, which would initially offer loans for energy-efficient home improvements and later expand to finance energy-efficient equipment purchases by commercial borrowers.

CMS said it plans to acquire a division of Baltimore-based Allfirst Bank, which has a $7 million portfolio of home improvement loans to public utilities customers. The thrift, which would be based in Jackson, Mich., would first solicit by telephone and mail and later add Internet customer service. CMS Enerbank would also market its financing through other utilities, according to its Oct. 7 application.

CMS, which has 11,000 employees, had $5.1 billion of operating revenues last year. -- Katharine Fraser

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