The metropolitan Washington savings and loan industry must work more with city officials in developing better housing while improving their image with the community, the outgoing president of the area's S&L league said this weekend.
Addressing members at the Washington Metropolitan Savings and Loan League's 71st annual meeting, Ralph Childs Jr. and that the D.C. area's S&Ls must become a part of the city's "housing team."
He also forecast that the savings and loan industry will face at best an uncertain year and at worst recession and increased financial activity outside the savings and loan industry.
Childs was referring to pessimism among savings and loan members nationally, created by the lower rate of savings by consumers in thrift institutions and by the increasing rate of the purchase of government and corporate securities.
To meet some of the challenges the industry will face in the 1980s, Childs said that the industry members must become more organized in "telling our story" to the public and work together more with city officials and the community.
"I know I speak for all members institutions when I say we are committed to be a part of the housing team," of city officials and the community, Childs said.
"As just one evidence that we put our money where our mouth is," Childs said, the board of the Savings and Financial Enterprises, Inc., a wholly owned service corporation of league members in the district, recently voted unanimously to commit $2.5 million in loans on the 82-unit condominium rehabilitation projects to be known as Julius Hobson Plaza at First and New York Avenue NW.
"As some of you are aware, this is the first major project undertaken in the mayor's 'take the boards off the houses' program," Childs said, speaking during a Saturday morning session of the league's meeting at the Homestead Resort.
Childs also said that the industry will be challenged by Washington's 11 percent mortgage interest rates ceiling and the issue of allowing District firms to branch into the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. Federal Home Loan Bank Board Chairman Robert H. McKinney has proposed the change.
"I would be remiss if I did not say that our 16 D.C.-based associations are fully committed to pledge their energies and resources to implementation of this change in policy," Childs said. "I would be equally remiss if I did not say that it is our sincere hope that, where we may be divided on the one issue, whatever the outcome we can continue to work together on the many issues of common interest. We merely ask for the understanding of our Maryland friends on this matter."
Barry Tate, director of Urban Affairs for the U.S. League of Savings Associations, told the league members during the same session that with the passing of emergency legislation barring the conversion of condominiums in the District, savings and loan members should look toward the conversion to cooperatives and allowing the same tenants to remain there.