Nullifying a regulation enacted in 1990 after the savings and loan crisis, the Office of Thrift Supervision ruled Tuesday that it will no longer require healthy thrifts to get approval to pay cash dividends.

Under the new regulation, which takes effect April 1, thrifts with low regulatory ratings would need the agency's approval to pay dividends, but could file one-year plans, instead of seeking permission each quarter. The OTS action puts thrifts on par with commercial banks.

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