Southwest Virginia Savings Bank, Roanoke, Va., has received approval from the Office of Thrift Supervision to convert to a federally chartered stock savings bank from a mutual institution.

The thrift has also formed a holding company called SWVA Bancshares Under the conversion plan, the holding company is offering about 718,750 shares of common stock at $10 a share.

Certain account holders and borrowers of Southwest will have a "preferred opportunity" to purchase stock through a subscription offering that closes on Sept. 27.

Stock will also be offered to the general public in a community offering with preference given to residents of Roanoke, Salem and Roanoke County, Va.

"We are excited about it," said Bill L. Rakes, president and chief executive of the $56 million-asset thrift. Mr. Rakes declined to discuss specifics of the offering on Friday because neither a prospectus nor a proxy statement had been issued.

Mr. Rakes said funds raised will go toward new products and services.

He said the thrift, which was rounded in 1927, plans to offer ATM services, which it doesn't today.

"We are looking to Offer competitive services" he said."

Mr. Rakes said board members decided this past spring to convert to a stock institution. "From a stock point of view... you get your community people interested," Mr. Rakes said. "They are more inclined to become customers."

Southwest's offering will be managed by Trident Securities.

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