Caroline Savings Bank, a small, well-run thrift in Virginia, is trying to raise nearly $1 million to expand its operations.

The thrift is offering 75,000 shares to current stockholders at $13 a share, which is 10% above book value. A week before the offering ends, members of the community will be able to buy shares.

"It's going very well; people are supporting their home town bank," J.T. Baxter said of the offering. He is a Richmond-based banking consultant who is working with Caroline. "This is a time when very few banks and thrifts are in the market selling stock," Mr. Baxter said. "I don't know whether that plays any role in it or not."

The Bowling Green-based thrift's offering is not being underwritten, and it will close Dec. 23. There is also no established market for the stock. The $36 million-asset thrift plans to use proceeds from the offering to open a branch and support general growth.

This year, Caroline became the first thrift in the state to convert to a state-chartered savings bank. The thrift made the move to save about $12,000 to $15,000 a year in Office of Thrift Supervision examination fees, reduce the number of examinations, and gain lending powers.

Caroline is a highly capitalized institution that has earned steady profits. It earned $270,000 for the first nine months of the year, despite paying $65,000 to exit the OTS. For the same period in 1993, the thrift earned $298,731.

Caroline is largely a residential lender, with 80% of its portfolio in one- to four-family home loans. The company has maintained a spotless lending record, with zero nonperforming loans for the past five years.

"They are good lenders," Mr. Baxter said. "They are just flat out good lenders."

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