An insurance industry trade group on Wednesday asked regulators for permission to launch a federal thrift.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Cos. said it wants to charter a thrift so agents employed by its 1,100 member companies may offer loans and certificates of deposit to customers.

The NAMIC is the second trade association to ask the Office of Thrift Supervision for a thrift charter. On March 17 state affiliates of the American Farm Federation filed a request to offer banking products through a thrift.

The Independent Insurance Agents of America has also said it will seek permission to open a thrift.

The thrift, to be called NAMIC Bank, will be a subsidiary of NAMIC Bancorp, a holding company formed in September. The parent company will provide the thrift $12.5 million in capital, raised primarily by a stock offering to the group's member companies. The trade group will hold a small ownership stake in NAMIC Bancorp.

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