To keep its capital strong after losses from its investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Cascade Financial Corp of Everett, Wash., said Thursday that it would cut its third-quarter dividend by half, to 4.5 cents a share.

The $1.6 billion-asset company said it expects to take a noncash writedown of $11.3 million after taxes on its Fannie and Freddie shares, whose value plunged to $1.3 million after the two government-sponsored enterprises went into conservatorship.

Carol K. Nelson, Cascade's president and chief executive officer, said in a press release that it would still be well capitalized even if it had to write off the entire value of the shares, and that the dividend cut is a safeguard.

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