Independence Savings Bank has announced plans to convert to stock ownership.

Subject to approval by depositors and regulators, Independence would become a wholly owned subsidiary of a stock holding company to be known as Independence Community Bank Corp. Stock in the holding company would be offered to depositors and the public.

The Brooklyn institution, which was founded nearly 150 years ago, had resisted going public. But Charles J. Hamm, president and chief executive officer, said the move was consistent with the company's goal of "increasing Independence's relevance and impact in its communities.

"By providing us with a stronger capital base," he added, "the conversion to a stock company will permit us to grow our primary business- meeting the savings needs of our local customer base, creating greater opportunity and securitiy for our staff, and having a positive imnpact throughout our communities."

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