BANKING & FINANCE
Downey S&L; Plans to Convert to Federal Charter: The thrift, the last major savings and loan still operating under state authority, said its board approved the formation of a holding company to be named Downey Financial Corp. It said directors also approved the conversion of Downey Savings & Loan from a California-licensed savings association to a federally chartered institution. In a news release, the company said its shareholders will become Downey Financial holders and that it plans to list Downey Financial shares on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges. Downey said the holding company reorganization and conversion are subject to regulatory and corporate approvals. The company said it expects to complete the reorganization in January and the federal charter conversion shortly thereafter.