More and more thrifts are looking for ways to become more like commercial banks, including acquiring commercial banks or their branches or being bought by them. Some, however, are taking a third, slower approach, through growing commercial loans internally.

Each approach has its risks. But many thrift executives see no alternative to shedding their current profiles because, heavily invested in mortgages, their interest rate margins are thin and their stocks are particularly vulnerable to interest rate swings.

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