Fox Chase Bancorp (FXCB) in Hatboro, Pa., has won permission to ditch its federal charter.

Regulators gave the $1.1 billion-asset company permission to switch to a state charter, it announced Thursday. It has also been approved to convert to a bank holding company from a thrift holding company. Fox Chase expects the conversion to take place in the fourth quarter.

The conversion will allow the company to focus on commercial lending, Fox Chase Chief Executive Thomas Petro said. In announcing plans for the switch this August, he said that the federal thrift charter limits certain commercial activities.

"Commercial loans now represent more than 75% of the bank's loan portfolio," Petro said in the news release Thursday. "The new charter will allow us to continue the strong growth of our commercial lending business, which has experienced a 41% compound annual growth rate over the past six years."

Fox Chase has made a turnaround after struggling with bad loans throughout the last decade. It restructured its balance sheet last year in order to reduce long-term debt and improve its lending margin.

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