Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. of Columbia, Mo., this week became the latest insurer seeking to launch a federal thrift. Shelter Financial Bank would offer residential mortgages, home equity loans, and other consumer loans through 1,295 insurance agents employed by its parent company, according to an application filed with the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Shelter Mutual agents operate in 13 states. The company is one of 13 insurers seeking a federal thrift charter. In addition, two insurance industry trade groups have announced plans to start federal thrifts. Since November, thrift charters also have been approved for Travelers Group, Principal Mutual Insurance Co., ReliaStar Financial Corp., Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, and Nationwide Financial Services Inc.

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