A form of bank incorporated under the laws of many of our States which has experienced a rapid growth. They are to encourage the accumulation of money on the part of those of limited means, for the erection of buildings, making improvements on lands, payment of encumbrances thereon, and, in a general way, to encourage real estate investments and the owning of homes and the saving of money. One joins an institution of this kind by becoming a subscriber to one or more shares, of an ultimate value of - generally - $200; that is, obliging himself to pay a stated sum in fixed periodical instalments, say monthly; upon the failing so to do he must suffer certain prescribed penalties. He agrees to make these payments until the shares reach the stated value, when they become, as it were, fully paid; his proportion of the earnings of the institution, going to his credit, helps bring his shares to the " fully paid " requirements. A shareholder is entitled to borrow money upon real estate from the " association," when it has any on hand to loan, up to the face value of the shares held. Not only must he pay the legal rate of interest, but a slight premium besides. Formerly the loanable money was offered to the shareholders at stated intervals, and awarded each time to the best bidder, but now the plan of fixing the premium has been more generally adopted. Some of the " associations " will loan to members upon their shares as collateral, up to a certain percentage (say 90%) of the' amount paid in.
After all the required payments have been made upon shares, a subscriber may demand a return of his money, plus his share of the earnings of the " association."
The magnitude of the money invested in this country in institutions such as above, may be appreciated from the following figures furnished by the Secretary of the United League of Building and Loan Associations: Total assets (1919-1920), $2,126,620,390; membership, 4,289,326; these returns relating to 7,788 associations.
There are various institutions "such as Savings Fund and Loan Associations, Mutual Loan Associations, Corporative Savings and Loan Associations, Homestead Aid Associations, Corporative Banks, etc., but for all practical purposes their intents and aims are substantially the same as the " Building and Loan Associations."
These associations are divided into what are called " local " and "national." For obvious reasons it is better to invest in those of the former class.
Associations of this type have proved a great blessing to the wage earners of this country, and the blessings do not end there; the community at large is a gainer in more ways than one. It is conceivable that civil strife in this country may be restrained from the very fact that such a large number of people of limited means have become property owners.