Massachusetts Fincorp has agreed with dissident shareholders to explore options including sale, and the New York securities firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. will help.

The Quincy thrift company, which has $110 million of assets, entered into the agreement in late August, said president Paul C. Green.

Keefe Bruyette was actually hired in June, for a business strategy review, Mr. Green said last week. "We're always looking to increase shareholder value," he said.

"Unfortunately," Mr. Green said, "most people think that means to sell the company." But even in June, he said, the assignment included exploring the possibility of sale.

The agreement was made with a group of investors who were seeking representation on the board, Mr. Green said. The group won three seats at the company's annual shareholder meeting in April.

The group agreed to support the board's actions through next year's annual meeting, the company said.

The board, in addition to agreeing to explore sale and other options, committed itself to supporting the dissidents' three directors in 2003, when their seats next come up for votes.

The board also agreed to add three seats for them on the board of the company's Massachusetts Co-operative Bank.

Mr. Green also said that Massachusetts Fincorp intends to buy back up to 9% of its stock over the next six months.

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