WASHINGTON - The Office of Thrift Supervision has given itself until Feb. 15 to rule on E-Trade Group Inc.'s application to buy Telebanc Financial Corp., but the two firms are urging the regulator to move faster.

Menlo Park, Calif.-based E-Trade filed its application with the OTS in June. On Friday the OTS declared that the application was "complete" and that the agency would make a decision within 60 days. But a clause in E-Trade's deal with Arlington, Va.-based Telebanc allows either party to walk away Dec. 31 if the deal has not been closed.

E-Trade chairman and chief executive officer Christos M. Cotsakos said the Internet brokerage is working with the OTS to "accelerate" the approval process. But an agency spokesman said he could not say whether a pre-Dec. 31 decision is likely.

Separately, the OTS on Monday granted Morgan Keegan Inc., a Memphis securities firm, a thrift charter to expand its trust business out of state. The agency also said the retailer Nordstrom Inc. can convert its credit card bank to a thrift.

- Katharine Fraser

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