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Savings & Thrifts

Thrift institutions, including mutual savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions were originally created to serve the needs for saving, credit, and loans of people with moderate income and resources. They are a major source of consumer financing.

Mutual savings banks are chartered by either a state or the federal government. They compete with savings and loan associations primarily in the northeast. They tend to concentrate their mortgage investments in permanent residential mortgages acquired from other institutional lenders in secondary markets.

Savings and loan associations are also chartered by either a state or the federal government. They specialize in construction and permanent residential mortgages. The savings and loan industry entered a state of crisis in the late 1980s, resulting in insolvency on the part of many savings and loan associations. In 1989, Congress created the Resolution Trust Corporation, which took over the assets of troubled savings and loan associations, including construction loan mortgages, permanent mortgages, and real estate obtained from defaulting mortgagors. At substantial expense, the Resolution Trust Corporation succeeded in turning around the savings and loan industry, and discontinued business as of the end of 1995.

Credit unions are chartered by the National Credit Union Administration or by the states in which they conduct business. They concentrate on the saving and borrowing needs of groups of persons with a common bond. They are authorized to offer residential mortgages.

Mortgage banking companies are incorporated under state law. Their primary importance arises from their participation as intermediaries between borrowers and other lenders. This can involve the origination of home mortgage loans, which are then sold to institutional investors. Mortgage banking companies often continue to service these loans after the sale. Mortgage banking companies also serve as an intermediary between commercial borrowers, construction lenders, and permanent mortgage lenders.

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