The American Savings and Loan Industry, 18311935

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-12-01
  • Publisher: Routledge

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The American savings and loan industry began in the 1830s as a way to help people of modest financial means buy a home. Modelled on British building societies, savings and loans - originally called 'building and loans' or 'thrifts' - were cooperative businesses whose members made regular contributions into a common fund that they could then borrow from as long-term mortgages. The popularity of this method of home finance led to the rapid expansion of the industry, and by the end of the nineteenth century more than five thousand building and loans were in operation around the country.The small, local nature of these schemes meant that most building and loans were well-run and able to serve specific neighbourhoods or ethnic groups. But during the 1880s a new breed appeared, which tried to shift the scheme to a national level. Sadly, many of these schemes were fraudulent and their rapid collapse threatened the entire industry. In response to this, a national body was set up to promote the thrift industry, whose work was compared with that of a social movement rather than a financial institution.Despite the long history of the industry there has been only limited scholarly work done on its early years. This collection fills a significant gap and allows an insight into the place of the savings and loans industry within the wider context of American society.

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