Security Federal Corp. in Aiken, S.C.. has reorganized as a bank holding company and its subsidiary, Security Federal Bank, has converted from a federally chartered thrift to a state-regulated commercial bank.

The $960 million-asset Security Federal Corp. had been a savings and loan holding company until its conversion to a bank holding company, which needed approval from the Federal Reserve, took effect Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the bank, which is keeping the "federal" in its name despite the charter change, is now regulated by the South Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banking. Its charter switch also became effective Wednesday.

"Our conversion to a state-chartered commercial bank reflects the bank's operating strategy and increase in the origination of commercial loans," said J. Chris Verenes, Security Federal Bank's chairman and chief executive. "The charter conversion will also result in reduced regulatory fees and reduced South Carolina state income taxes."

Security Federal is the latest in a string of federally chartered thrifts that have either converted or announced plans to convert since the federal Office of Thrift Supervision was eliminated in July and merged into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

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