Pressures are growing on mutual thrifts, forcing many to choose between being bought by larger competitors or relinquishing their charters.

First Federal Bank of (Waukesha) Wisconsin and Bay View Federal Savings and Loan in Milwaukee are trying a tricky third path to survival by entering into a merger of equals. If it works, it could become a model for other mutuals determined to hold onto their charters despite the strains on their business.

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