Second National Federal Savings Bank has announced that it will cut in half its latest dividend to provide a cash cushion as the real estate market continues to soften.

Maryland's second largest thrift has been paying one of the highest yields among thrifts in the region. Officials said the action will decrease the quarterly dividend to 4.5 cents a share from 9 cents a share.

The reduction would save about $1.35 million annually in after-tax payments. The additional money would bolster capital ratios and increase provisions to cover possible real estate losses.

"Our board believes it better serves our shareholders to try to get capital from shareholders by cutting the dividend" rather than seeking funds from outside sources, said William T. Russell, chief financial officer.

The thrift, based in Salisbury, Md., has 39 offices in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District.

S&K Famous Brands Inc. plans to open 14 stores in the second half of the year, growing to a chain with 108 outlets, officials of the Richmond-based mens clothing company said.

The new stores will include S&K's first store in Fredericksburg, Va., and stores in existing markets in Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Virginia Beach and Newport News.

The lineup also includes stores in Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

The company reported second-quarter earnings of $471,000 (20 cents a share), compared with $448,000 (22 cents) for the same period last year. Second-quarter sales were up 14.5 percent for the quarter ended July 28, but store-for-store sales were level with last year's results, the company said.

Jones Safety Supply Inc. of Roanoke, which distributes safety equipment from its branches in Chesapeake, Va., Greensboro, N.C., and Columbia, was acquired by W.W. Grainger Inc., the Skokie, Ill.-based wholesaler of electrical products. Terms were not disclosed.

Jones Safety Supply last year had sales of $12 million. Grainger has annual sales of nearly $2 billion. The agreement marks Grainger's entrance into the safety equipment market.

RBC Inc. of Arlington, a systems engineering and engineering management firm, acquired Cost Engineering Research Inc. of Alexandria for an undisclosed amount. Cost Engineering, which has provided financial modeling and analysis services to the Navy Department since 1981, will be a wholly owned subsidiary of RBC.

British investor David J. Rowland has sold 47 percent of Diagnon Corp., or 4.5 million common shares, back to the Rockville-based manufacturer of medical diagnostic kits, for $640,000, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

American Management Systems Inc., an Arlington-based software and professional services firm, acquired a 10 percent stake in Advantage KBS Inc. of Edison, N.J., a consulting company specializing in knowledge-based systems. Terms were not disclosed.

Ryan-McGinn Inc., a Washington-based government and public relations firm, acquired Porte, Stafford and Associates Inc., a Washington-based government relations firm specializing in health consulting, for undisclosed terms.

DDL Omni Engineering Corp. of Chantilly was acquired by James E. Schaeffer and Carl Mayfield from Data-Design Laboratories Inc. of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., for an undisclosed amount. DDL Omni, a management and technical support services firm, has 170 employees at offices in Arlington, Columbia, Md., and New London, Conn.

Cellmark Diagnostics of Germantown won a contract from the state of Arizona to use its DNA fingerprinting service to help determine paternity in about 1,100 child-support cases.

Henninger Video Inc. of Arlington expanded its graphics production department with the addition of three full-time graphics artists and a variety of production and post-production equipment.

MCV Associates Inc. opened in Reston to provide professional consulting services.

Walker & Dunlop of Washington and Green Park Financial, an operation of the Confederation Life Insurance Co. of Toronto, formed Green Park Financial Limited Partnership to offer financial services to developers and owners of multifamily housing projects nationwide.

Burgos and Associates, an architecture firm, opened in Washington.

Washington Car Rental Systems Inc. opened a Payless Car Rental office in Sterling. Payless is a national franchise based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Skigen & Associates, a Rockville-based public accounting firm, changed its name to Arkin & Skigen.

Edward Segal Communications opened in Washington.

Gingold Research Inc., a marketing research and consulting firm, opened in Bethesda.

Announcements of news and developments affecting Washington area companies should be sent to Regional Report, Business News Department, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.