Add NorthEast Community Bank in White Plains, N.Y., to the growing list of federally chartered thrifts converting to state charters.

The thrift said late Tuesday that it has filed an application with the the New York State Department of Financial Services to switch to a state savings bank charter in the second or third quarter of 2012.

NorthEast has four branches in New York and two branches and a loan production office in Massachusetts. Kenneth A. Martinek, the president and chief executive of the $449 million-asset thrift and its holding company, NorthEast Community Bancorp Inc., said in a news release Tuesday that its board has determined that switching would best position the bank "to compete in our market."

NorthEast is the third federally chartered thrift to announce plans to convert to a state charter in the last week. First Federal Savings and Loan Association in Charleston, S.C., and MutualBank in Muncie, Ind., both said last week that they had received approval from state regulators to become state commercial banks.

Federally chartered institutions often switch to state charters because they want to be closer to their regulators and because state examination fees are typically lower.

State regulators have also become more aggressive in encouraging thrifts to switch charters since the Office of Thrift Supervision was eliminated in July as part of the Dodd-Frank Act and merged into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

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