WASHINGTON -- Thrifts and banks that belong to the Federal Home Loan Bank system can expect an increased dividend from the system in the fourth quarter.

That's because the system's regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Board, has torn up two months worth of bills for the 12 district Home Loan Banks.

The Board came in well under budget for the year, largely because the Clinton administration's nominees to the near-empty board have not yet been confirmed by the Senate and added to the Finance Board's payroll.

Two months of assessments total $2.6 million, which is likely to boost the district banks' bottom lines by a like amount in the fourth quarter. That is likely to translate to small dividend increases for the system's 5,092 member institutions.

"About half of the savings are due to unfilled board positions," said Nicolas P. Retsinas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's representative to the Finance Board.

"It's wonderful that they are attempting to control their expenses the same way the banks are," said Dean M. Schultz, president of the San Francisco Home Loan Bank.

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