Bill and Marylin Noel of College Park are expecting their first child early next year and hoped to spend the final months before the child arrives at home together, living off their $9,000 savings.
But the Noels' money is on deposit in the Bethesda-based Community Savings & Loan Association, and they cannot touch it because Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes froze withdrawals 12 days ago. A state official has said it could be two years or more before complete access is permitted.
"If we could forecast when we will be able to take our money out, we could start on our plans," Bill Noel said. "But right now, we're not sure what is going to happen." He said he is working full time and his wife is working part time.
About 150 people voiced similar uncertainties last night at a meeting of Community Savings & Loan depositors at the Prince George's County Library in Greenbelt.
Those at the meeting traded stories for more than 90 minutes -- of checks returned by creditors, of children prohibited from enrolling in school because of tuition paid with a Community Savings & Loan check, and of elderly persons living on only Social Security because they cannot withdraw money from Community.
Elizabeth Maffay, a former councilwoman in Greenbelt, said she and her husband Jerry are living off of a loan from one of her daughters. Another of her daughters, she said, was stopped from taking classes as Prince George's Community College because a check written to pay tuition and fees was not honored by Community.
David Lange, president of the Lakeside Citizens Association and one of those who called last night's meeting, said the possibility of taking legal action to gain access to money on deposit will be explored if other efforts fail. The group is planning another meeting in about two weeks, Lange said, but the date and place have not been set.