Chicago — Four insurance companies on Friday asked the government to allow them to buy thrifts so they can qualify to receive federal money under the financial rescue program, according to the Associated Press.

The newsgathering organization says Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Genworth Financial Inc., Lincoln National Corp. and Aegon NV, a Dutch company that owns U.S. insurer Transamerica, each asked the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) for permission to acquire an existing savings and loan.

The deadline for filing applications was Friday. According to the Associated Press, the Treasury Department agency said it received submissions from those four firms to become thrift holding companies by acquiring savings and loans. Hartford and Genworth released their own statements.

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. has applied to the OTS to become a savings and loan holding company and has applied to participate in the U.S. Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program (CPP).

In conjunction with these applications, The Hartford has signed a merger agreement to acquire the parent company of Federal Trust Bank for approximately $10 million and will also provide an additional amount to recapitalize the bank. Federal Trust Bank, a federally chartered, FDIC-insured savings bank owned by Federal Trust Corp., a unitary thrift holding company headquartered in Sanford, Fla. The completion of this acquisition will satisfy a key eligibility requirement for participation in CPP.

Genworth Financial has filed a savings and loan holding company application with the Office of Thrift Supervision with respect to the acquisition of InterBank fsb of Maple Grove, Minnesota. Genworth and InterBank have reached an agreement in principle, subject to negotiation of a definitive agreement. Genworth also filed an application for CPP under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Both of these applications are subject to regulatory approval.

Sources: Associated Press, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Genworth Financial Inc.

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