Two years after postponing its planned conversion to a 100% stock-owned company, Northfield Bancorp (NFBK), a mutual holding company in Avenel, N.J., is finally ready to take that second step.

The $2.4 billion-asset company announced late Wednesday that it intends to offer shares currently owned by the mutual holding company to the public and become a fully stock-owned company. The company has not yet determined an offering price but said it expects to complete the conversion in the fourth quarter.

Northfield announced plans for a second-step conversion in 2010 but later postponed it due to weak demand for bank and thrift stocks. In a news release, the company said that improving market conditions as well as new restrictions on mutual holding companies encouraged the board to pursue the second step at this time.

The company said it is immediately suspending a stock repurchase plan and dividend payments until the stock sale is completed. It also said it does not expect to begin the stock sale until it closes its previously announced acquisition for the $145 million-asset Flatbush Federal Bancorp  in Brooklyn, N.Y.  That deal is expected to close next quarter

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