Savings and loans were given a certain amount of preferential treatment by the Federal Reserve inasmuch as they were given the ability to pay higher interest rates on savings deposits compared to a regular commercial bank. This was known as Regulation Q (The Interest Rate Adjustment Act of 1966) and gave the S&Ls 50 basis points above what banks could offer. The idea was that with marginally higher savings rates, savings and loans would attract more deposits that would allow them to continue to write more mortgage loans, which would keep the mortgage market liquid, and funds would always be available to potential borrowers.
However, savings and loans were not allowed to offer checking accounts until the late 1970s. This reduced the attractiveness of savings and loans to consumers, since it required consumers to hold accounts across multiple institutions in order to have access to both checking privileges and competitive savings rates.
In the 1980s the situation changed. The United States Congress granted all thrifts in 1980, including savings and loan associations, the power to make consumer and commercial loans and to issue transaction accounts. The Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 was designed to help the banking industry to combat disintermediation of funds to higher-yielding non-deposit products such as money market mutual funds. It also allowed thrifts to make consumer loans up to 20 percent of their assets, issue credit cards, provide negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts to consumers and nonprofit organizations, and invest up to 20 percent of their assets in commercial real estate loans. Over the next several years, this was followed by provisions that allowed banks and thrifts to offer a wide variety of new market-rate deposit products. For S&Ls, this deregulation of one side of the balance sheet essentially led to more inherent interest rate risk inasmuch as they were funding long-term, fixed rate mortgage loans with volatile shorter-term deposits.
In 1982, the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act was passed and increased the proportion of assets that thrifts could hold in consumer and commercial real estate loans and allowed thrifts to invest 5 percent of their assets in commercial loans until January 1, 1984, when this percentage increased to 10 percent. It gave savings and loan associations the authority to make commercial loans. Savings and loan associations were authorized to make commercial, corporate, business, or agricultural loans up to 10% of assets after January 1, 1984.
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Famous quotes containing the word advantages:
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