Three months after being released from a federal directive to raise capital, a once-ailing New Jersey thrift has shelved plans to go public.

"Right now, we're focusing on running our business," said Clifford J. Adams, president and chief operating officer of Statewide Savings Bank of Jersey City.

But in the long term, "our options are completely wide open, as they are for every mutual thrifty

The Office of Thrift Supervision lifted its order in May after the $501-million-asset thrift's capital ratio rose above the required 4% mark last September.

The ratio is currently 4.34%, up from a low of 2.67% in June 1989 when the thrift was forced to write off millions of dollars in goodwill.

The decision not to go public follows the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's rejection in early June of a merger conversion application with Union City, N.J.-based Hubco Inc.

The agreement with Hubco expired June 30.

Statewide directors began pursuing the so-called merger conversion in 1992 to boost capital.

The thrift found a willing partner in HUBCO, a $1.4-billion-asset bank.

In December 1993, Statewide applied with the FDIC to go public and merge.

But the FDIC rejected Statewide's application in early June, accusing the thrift's directors of being "driven by self-serving interests."

"The insiders have breached their fiduciary duty to the institution in that they have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that the transaction is fair and in the best interests of Statewide and its constituents," said the letter from Acting FDIC Executive Secretary Robert E. Feldman.

In an interview, Mr. Adams dismissed the allegations, saying regulators "just don't like merger conversions."

"It didn't appear that the FDIC was going to be approving any merger conversions in the foreseeable future," he said.

"It appears to us that the FDIC wants to reinvent the wheel and I'm not sure what shape they want the wheel to be."

FDIC officials declined to comment.Statewide Savings Bank at a Glance Headquarters Jersey CityFounded 1943CEO William F. DavidsonAssets $501 millionROA 0.43%

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