Sound Community Bancorp (SFBC) in Seattle has ditched its federal thrift charter.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions approved an application last week from Sound Community Bank for a state commercial bank charter, which went into effect immediately. The $367 million-asset bank said in a press release that it expects to save money by making the switch.
"In addition to the cost savings and slightly more flexibility in commercial lending, there are benefits to being regulated locally," Laurie Stewart, the company's president and chief executive, said in the release. "As a community bank doing business in Washington, we believe the [state's banking regulator] has an understanding of issues facing banks in our state. If we want to talk to the regulator we simply go across the street instead of across the country."
As a result of the conversion, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions will be the primary regulator for Sound Community and the Federal Reserve will continue to regulate the holding company.
A growing number of banks have moved to change from federal charters to state ones. Banks often cite the ability to lower examination costs and a desire to be closer to their primary regulator for the switch.