Though most thrifts executives view examiners with trepidation at worst and irritation at best, Awane Bank has been pining for Office of Thrift Supervision examiners for three years.

The exam, scheduled for the end of August, will be Awane's first as a thrift. It converted from a national credit union in May.

"I don't think they're going to find any surprises," said Alan Theriault, president of the Peterborough, N.H., thrift. "Our portfolio is squeaky clean."

The new S&L has been prepared for a while, even before May 1, when it became the second credit union in the nation to switch to a thrift charter. (The first, in Newark, N.J., is now Lusitania Savings Bank.) Awane has featured a thriftlike makeup for many years.

"We see this change as a real positive," Mr. Theriault said. "It's a great opportunity for us."

Despite the two conversions to thrift charters, credit union industry officials doubt that it reflects a trend. Jerry Karbon, spokesman for Credit Union National Association, said he knows of no other credit unions considering a switch of charters.

Awane, whose name is an acronym for Automotive Wholesalers Association of New England, was started in 1971 in Rutland, Vt. When the association moved in 1975 to Peterborough, between Manchester and Keene, the credit union followed suit.

Ron Roucoulet, chief financial officer, said the credit union considered converting to a thrift charter more than three years ago, after officials began to feel the National Credit Union Administration wasn't entirely at ease with Awane's portfolio, which included a number of real estate-secured business loans.

"We felt we would never be able to get the National Credit Union Administration to completely go along with what we felt our future was," he said. "We felt that converting to an OTS charter was the best option. It gives us the opportunity to do things we couldn't do before."

Mr. Theriault said Peterborough is a deposit-rich community, but Awane had been limited because it had always stayed within its credit union boundaries.

"The change has really allowed us to attract deposits from a variety of sources to meet loan demand," he said.

Mr. Theriault said Awane, which had become involved with small-business lending as a credit union, will seek to mine that niche and also begin to develop a 401(k) program to better serve clientele.

Customer response has been positive, which isn't surprising given that the membership voted overwhelmingly in favor of the conversion.

"There were a few raised eyebrows, but not many," Mr. Theriault said. "I'm sure there were some people who pulled their money out, but just as many put money in."

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