Citizens Building and Loan in Greer, S.C., has asked for regulatory approval to form a mutual holding company.

The $120 million-asset mutual thrift filed its application with state and federal regulators this month. It must be approved by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Federal Reserve Board and the South Carolina Board of Financial Institutions. Citizens expects the formation to be completed by the first quarter, Chief Executive Tommy Johnson said in an interview.

Citizens is the latest mutual to explore the mutual holding company structure, following the $1.6 billion-asset First Federal Lakewood in Ohio, the $659 million-asset Provident Bank in Amesbury, Mass., and the $126 million-asset Cincinnati Federal Savings & Loan Association in Ohio. Like those mutuals, Citizens wants a holding company to facilitate potential capital raises or the addition of new products and services, Johnson said.

"We're not issuing any stock," Johnson said. "The only reason we're doing it is, if we were to have to issue stock in the future. We've got plenty of capital. You never know what you might need down the road."

Citizens, a state-chartered mutual founded in 1907, reported a Tier 1 capital ratio of 39.9% at March 31, according to its call report.

Citizens may also look to enter new business lines, such as insurance or real estate appraisal services, and the holding company format would assist with those plans, Johnson said. The thrift has not made a final decision on what new business lines it may establish.

Citizens is not actively looking to acquire other banks, although Johnson said he would consider an opportunity if it presented itself.

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