Chicago — The Office of Thrift Supervision approved applications from Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Lincoln National Corp. to acquire existing savings and loans and become thrift holding companies.

Insurance companies that own thrifts, which are federally regulated, are eligible to apply for a piece of the $700 billion in government bailout funds.

In November 2008, The Hartford announced a merger agreement to acquire the parent company of Federal Trust Bank for approximately $10 million, and will provide an additional amount to recapitalize the bank.

Also in November 2008, Lincoln Financial Group announced that it applied with the Office of Thrift Supervision to become a savings and loan holding company concurrent with reaching an agreement to acquire Newton County Loan & Savings, FSB, a federally regulated savings bank.

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