Four New York thrifts received approval Monday to switch from federal to state charters, adding to a growing list of converts nationwide.

The Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, CMS Bank of Mt. Vernon, NorthEast Community Bank of White Plains and Fairport Savings Bank had been regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision before the agency was absorbed into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. They are just the latest of a number of thrifts across the country to opt for state charter rather than be regulated by the OCC.

"Our board of directors believes that the bank's conversion to a New York State-chartered savings bank will best position the bank to execute our business plan and compete in our market, in an efficient manner," John E. Ritacco, the president and chief executive of the $247 million-asset CMS Bank, said in a press release.

CMS—which announced that it changed its name from Community Mutual Savings Bank simultaneously with changing regulators—also said in the press release that the switch to a state charter would save money in the form of lower supervisory assessment fees.

Benjamin M. Lawsky, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, and members of the State Charter Advisory Board enthusiastically welcomed the four thrifts, saying the new additions will continue to strengthen the state-chartered banking system.

"Their conversion is a testament to the value offered by the state charter, and the effective working relationship that exists between the Department of Financial Services and the banks that it regulates," added Eugene Peter Forrestel 2nd, president and CEO of the Bank of Akron in Erie County and one of the advisory board members.

Six institutions have converted from federal to state charters since New York's Department of Financial Services was formed last fall with the merger of the former state banking and insurance departments.

The Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, with about $4 billion of assets, is the largest to make the switch. NorthEast Community Bank has about $492 million of assets and Fairport Savings Bank has about $214 million.

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