WASHINGTON -- The seizure of Standard Federal Savings Bank has jeopardized Mellon Bank Corp.'s bid for eight of the thrift's branches in Washington's Maryland suburbs.

The sale, which would have doubled the number of Mellon branches in the area, was expected to be approved by federal regulators in the fourth quarter.

Big in Mortgage Servicing

But two weeks ago, the Office of Thrift Supervision seized the thrift, based in Gaithersburg, Md. It had $1.8 billion in assets and was a prominent mortgage servicer, with a $36 billion portfolio.

Mellon now must negotiate with the Resolution Trust Corp., which has been slowed in its sales of failed thrifts because Congress has withheld funds.

Thomas W. Butch, a spokesman for Pittsburgh-based Mellon, said he did not know when a deal might be reached.

The branches, not other Standard Federal assets, "remain our principal interest," he said.

Stephen Katsanos, spokesman for the RTC, said the agency would review the deal to see whether it is favorable for taxpayers. The RTC may decide to put up the branches for competitive bidding.

Mellon announced a definitive agreement in August to pay $12.5 million for the eight offices, a 4% premium on their $313 million in 38,000 deposit accounts.

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