Reliastar Financial Corp., a Minneapolis insurer, won permission from the Office of Thrift Supervision Thursday to acquire Citizens Community Bancshares, St. Cloud, Minn.

The $20 billion insurer is buying the $43 million-asset thrift to offer certificates of deposit, credit cards, and money market accounts to its policyholders.

"There are some products the thrift could offer that would benefit our customers and tighten our relationship with them," said Reliastar senior vice president Kenneth Kuk.

The firm announced the Citizens deal in April; shareholders of the thrift have approved it.

In approving the deal, the OTS placed several restrictions on the thrift, which will be renamed Reliastar Bank. The agency said that no more than half of the thrift's board may consist of directors or employees of its broker-dealer affiliates.

In addition, plans to cross-market loan and deposit products to customers of the thrift's affiliates must be approved by the OTS. Reliastar Bank must also submit a comprehensive Community Reinvestment Act plan to the agency.

Reliastar becomes the third insurer to charter or acquire a federal thrift since Congress began debating legislation last year to abolish the charter. The OTS in November allowed Principal Mutual Insurance Co. and Travelers Group to charter thrifts. Ukrop Super Markets Inc. has also won a charter.

Eighteen nonbanking companies have pending requests for thrift charters. News that Temple-Inland Inc., the Texas paper and building products firm, has joined the list surfaced Wednesday.

Temple-Inland wants to charter FirstLand Bank in Livermore, Calif., a relatively small but growing city about 100 miles east of San Francisco.

"The climate is favorable for the establishment in Livermore of a community-based savings bank with a focus on single-family residential lending," according to Temple-Inland's application.

The mortgage loans would be offered on behalf of FirstLand by the firm's mortgage unit, Temple-Inland Mortgage Corp.

FirstLand also plans to offer a range of other products and services, including basic savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts, according to the application. However, Temple-Inland said its thrift would not offer consumer loans.

Temple-Inland already owns the $9 billion-asset Guaranty Federal Bank in Austin, Tex. Chartering another thrift would not force the firm to surrender its status as a unitary thrift holding company because federal law lets holding companies own multiple thrifts as long as all but one were acquired in deals involving government assistance. Temple-Inland bought the insolvent Guaranty Federal from federal regulators in 1988.

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