The Federal Home Loan Bank Board proposed yesterday that savings and loan associations be permitted to offer new "payment order accounts" that closely resemble interest-bearing checking accounts.
The new accounts are designed to allow S&L's to compete with the "automatic transfer accounts" that banks began offering yesterday, said Robert L. McKinney, chairman of the Home Loan Bank Board.
The automatic transfer accounts permit bank customers to keep their money in an interst-bearing savings account until it is needed to cover a check; then the funds are automatically transferred to the checking account.
On Tuesday, the savings and loan industry lost a legal battle to prevent banks from offering the new accounts, and yesterday McKinney unveiled the industry's counterattack.
The "payment order accounts" will pay 5 percent interest - the same as automatic transfer accounts - and the paper used for them will look "as much as possible" like a check, McKinney said.
Unlike a check, however, it will not be negotiable or transferable; it can be cashed only by the person to whom it is made out, not assigned to another party.
The Bank Board is expected to publish regulations for the new accounts next week, and could put them into use by the end of the year, McKinney said.