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Benj. Franklin ponders stock issue
Thrift sees better market for its second effort to go public in three years
The Benj. Franklin Savings & Loan, the Northwest's largest thrift and one of the last big privately owned financial institutions, is again seriously considering going public.
Founded with a single Portland branch in 1925, Benj. Franklin prospered with the region and now has assets of almost $4.5 billion in 85 branches in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. But in recent years, Benj. Franklin has been beleaguered by a tough Northwest economy, and an initial public offering would raise and capital reserves it needs for growth and stability.
Benj. Franklin tried to go public once before, and even issued an offering circular in August of 1983. But officials withdrew the offering when the market soured on thrifts and made it clear they wouldn't get the price they wanted for Benj. Franklin shares. So Benj. Franklin remains a federally chartered mutual association, owned collectively by depositors.
But an increasing number of savings institutions, more profitable and attractive than they've been in years as a result of falling interest rates, are approaching …