WESTCHESTER, Ill. - Westco Bancorp said the Office of Thrift Supervision will allow the company to repurchase outstanding shares of common stock in an amount exceeding that permitted under current regulations.

Westco, the holding company for First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Westchester, has received the special regulatory clearance necessary to repurchase up to 94,230 shares of its common stock in accordance with a stock repurchase plan approved by its board of directors.

The company had been authorized by its board to seek the waiver required to repurchase an additional 5% of the company's 1.9 million outstanding shares through June 26.

Recently, the common stock has been trading at prices under 85% of its tangible book value, which was $24.61 as of Dec. 31.

"Based on this, we believe that the repurchase of our shares is a good long-term investment," said David C. Burba, president of Westco Bancorp.

The repurchases will be made in open-market transactions, subject to the availability of stock. The company has made arrangements with the Chicago Corp. and Howe Barnes Investments, Inc., both of Chicago to handle the stock repurchases.

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