Richmond County Financial Corp. in Staten Island, N.Y., is planning to nearly double its equity stake in a competing thrift, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, possibly the first step in an outright acquisition of the company.

The $3.2 billion-asset parent of Richmond County Savings Bank said in the filing that it intends to apply with the Office of Thrift Supervision to increase its equity investment in Pamrapo Bancorp of Bayonne, N.J., from 5.1% to 9.9%. If the application is approved, Richmond would be the first to take advantage of new regulations that let federal thrifts own up to 9.9% of competing thrifts.

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