Independence Savings Bank, a depositor-owned thrift in Brooklyn, N.Y., said it is buying Long Island City Financial Corp. which is publicly traded.

The deal, for about $73 million in cash, is unusual because thrifts owned by depositors do not customarily buy shareholder-owned companies.

"No one expected a mutual to do it," said Charles J. Hamm, chief executive of Independence. The deal, which awaits regulatory approval, should debunk the idea that mutuals are less aggressive than other thrifts, he said.

Independence, which is paying close to book value for Long Island City, will markedly increase its presence in the borough of Queens. Independence has $1.6 billion of assets and 12 branches, only one of which is in Queens. Long Island City has assets of $340 million and four branches, all in Queens.

Long Island City, though healthy, is too small to compete effectively, said Donald H. MacKenzie, its chief executive officer. Mr. MacKenzie, 71, said he owns nearly 10% of the thrift's stock and is eager to retire.

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