Bank Mutual to repurchase stock shares

The board of directors of Bank Mutual Corp. has approved the bank holding company’s seventh stock repurchase program since 2003, authorizing it to buy up to 1 million of its outstanding shares.

Bank Mutual is traded on the NASDAQ index under the BKMU tag.

Michael Crowley Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the bank is very well capitalized, despite the current economic conditions many banks are facing. The bank’s public offerings in 2000 and 2003 raised large amounts of capital, some of which it still has in its coffers.

"We’ve raised a lot of capital over the years and some of that capital is excess even in today’s climate," Crowley said. "And because of the risk profile of the company – we’ve been very conservative – we do not have some of the same problems as other (banks)."

The combination of excess capital and a low amount of credit quality issues has made Bank Mutual’s stock a good buy, Crowley said, given the recent volatility in the stock market.

"As we have wide swings that the market goes through, we have an opportunity to pick up shares at reasonable prices," he said.

Bank Mutual’s board is currently weighing whether or not to apply for federal dollars under the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act recently approved by Congress, Crowley said.

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