Washington Federal Inc. in Seattle is raising its profile in New Mexico with a deal to acquire six branches and $253 million of deposits from Charter Bank in Albuquerque.

The transaction, announced late Wednesday, would increase Washington Federal's number of branches in the state to 17 and boost its total deposits there by more than 50%, to roughly $745 million. Three of the branches are in Albuquerque, where Washington Federal already has two offices, and the others are Santa Fe and Rio Rancho, both of which would be new markets for the $13.4 billion-asset company.

"While Washington Federal is not new to New Mexico, the addition of this new customer base and the associated branches will materially increase our presence there," Roy M. Whitehead, Washington Federal's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

The $770 million-asset Charter Bank, which is owned Beal Financial Corp. in Plan, Tex., did not immediately say why it was selling all of its branches and virtually all of its deposits in New Mexico.

Beal acquired Charter in early 2010 after the thrift failed and was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The $10 billion-asset Beal also owns banks in Texas and Nevada.

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