Two Ohio mutual thrifts are teaming up and going public with plans to eventually acquire a third thrift company.

Peoples Building, Loan, and Savings Co. has a deal to merge with Oakley Improved Building and Loan Co. in Cincinnati that would create one mutually held company. That company would then convert to stock ownership and buy Harvest Home Financial Corp. of Cheviot, Ohio, for $16.6 million in cash and stock.

Jerry D. Williams, president of Peoples, said the merger would combine three institutions "whose franchises and operating philosophies complement each other."

The capital raised in the stock conversion "will facilitate further growth and diversification of our combined companies," he said.

Peoples, with $90.8 million of assets, is based in Lebanon. Oakley has $17 million of assets, and Harvest Home has $100 million. The new company would have six branches in three Cincinnati-area counties.

The deal for Harvest Home calls for Peoples to exchange $9 in cash and $9 worth of Peoples' stock for each share of Harvest Home. It is valued at 1.6 times Harvest Home's book value and 31 times earnings.

The deals are expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter. -- Louis Whiteman

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