As thrifts nationwide prepare to bite the bullet and pay taxes on some reserves for bad debt, at least one is counting its blessings.

Springfield, Mass.-based SIS Bancorp set aside way too much last year to cover the anticipated tax hit, and now it's getting a windfall.

SIS, the holding company for Springfield Institution for Savings, will return to the bottom line $2.8 million it set aside during its February 1995 conversion to cover the taxes.

The money was part of a set-aside for taxes on full recapture of the thrift's bad debt reserves. But when President Clinton signed legislation requiring the taxation of reserves since 1987 only, SIS found it didn't need the full amount.

SIS will also recognize as assets the remaining $4.7 million of its tax credits reflecting losses in 1989-94, when the thrift was struggling with nonperforming assets.

The gains will be reflected in third-quarter earnings. SIS said it expects fourth-quarter operating income to be fully taxable.

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