IndyMac Mortgage Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that its board has approved a plan to convert from a real estate investment trust to a taxable savings and loan company.

After obtaining a federal savings and loan charter, IndyMac said, it would become a taxable depository institution. The conversion also needs shareholder approval. IndyMac said that if all necessary approvals cannot be obtained, it may seek to terminate its REIT status anyway on Jan. 1.

IndyMac's chief executive officer, Michael W. Perry, said that as a REIT the company had to pass along 95% of its earnings to shareholders. After reaching certain size, Mr. Perry said, it had become increasingly difficult for IndyMac to provide both a high yield and a high rate of growth for its investors.

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