A New York real estate investment trust has failed again in its bid to acquire a thrift.

BRT Realty Trust in Great Neck said it has terminated its deal to acquire a controlling interest in White Plains, N.Y.-based Reliance Bank.

Officials from both companies did not return phone calls.

Reliance, a $23 million-asset thrift with two branches, is the second banking company BRT has targeted in the past year. Last year BRT made two unsuccessful bids to buy $199 million-asset Peekskill (N.Y.) Financial Corp. It also filed with the Office of Thrift Supervision to start its own thrift after Peekskill's board rebuffed the offers.

In August, BRT said it had signed a nonbinding letter of intent to invest $20.8 million in Reliance in exchange for 86% of the thrift's stock. The REIT said it intended to form a holding company for Reliance and spin off the new company to shareholders. That way, BRT would have been able to keep its special tax status instead of becoming a bank holding company.

BRT officials said they were trying to get into banking to give the investment trust's shares a boost. Recently REIT stocks, unlike bank stocks, have been trading at below book value.

In its release announcing that the deal had fallen through, BRT gave no indication of what its next move might be.

-- Louis Whiteman

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