WASHINGTON - An interim ruling issued Tuesday by the Office of Thrift Supervision made it significantly easier for thrifts to repurchase stock.

Previously, mutual thrifts that converted to stock form were not allowed to repurchase stock in their first year and were limited to buying back 5% of outstanding shares in their second and third years. The interim rule eliminates any restrictions after the first year and allows thrifts to buy back outstanding shares within that year if they can prove "extraordinary circumstances."

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