Bucking a trend, Glacier Bancorp, Kalispell, Mont., is shedding its federal charters in favor of state bank charters.

The $573 million-asset company has applied to the Montana Banking Board to turn a federal thrift and two national banks into state-chartered commercial banks. The thrift, Glacier's lead subsidiary, is $370 million- asset Glacier Bank; the banks are Glacier National Bank of Whitefish and First National Bank of Eureka.

Glacier's other banking unit, First Security Bank of Missoula, is a state-chartered commercial bank.

Chief financial officer James H. Strosahl said the main aim is have fewer regulators to deal with. "It becomes time consuming having to deal with all the different agencies," he said.

Conversion of federal banks to state bank charters has plunged this year. Through mid-July only six banks had made the change, versus 30 in all of 1995, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Meanwhile conversion in the other direction soared. Fifty-nine state banks had converted to national charters through mid-July, more than triple the all-1996 total.

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