Voter apathy doesn't apply only to political elections.

Standard Financial Inc. had to postpone voting on three measures at its annual meeting in April because not enough shares were voted.

"I figure a lot of our shareholders are new (at this)," said Thomas M. Ryan, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "We have a lot of small shareholders. A lot of the depositors did not return their stuff."

The Burr Ridge, Ill., thrift company, which owns Standard Federal Bank for Savings, converted to a stock institution last July from a mutual.

Under rules by the Office of Thrift Supervision geared toward preventing insider abuse, the $1.8 billion-asset company needed at least half of its more than 18.6 million shares outstanding to approve three measures involving stock option plans for officers and directors and a management retention program.

Typically, a thrift company needs affirmative votes from just half of the shares actually voting. Newly converted thrifts use this procedure after the first year, Mr. Ryan said.

He added, however, "We will always continue to encourage our shareholders to vote.

When it became clear at Standard's annual meeting that not enough votes would be cast, management postponed the votes for 30 days.

The company wrote to shareholders, saying it had extended the balloting and that shareholders could change their votes.

All three measures were approved at a continuation of the meeting last Friday. The measures allow executive officers and 39 other employees to acquire additional shares of stock as performance incentives, and offer stock incentives to attract desirable outside directors.

"They were able to get out a bigger vote and get a majority," said Daniel L. Westrope, director of bank equity research for Howe Barnes Investments, Inc., Chicago, who said he had never seen a vote postponed before.

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