The Lutheran Church is donating $35,000 to pay rent and utility costs for several thousand depositors who lost millions of dollars through the bankruptcy of Latin Investment Corp.
The donations were made by two national groups, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to the Washington area Lutheran Social Services, according to the Rev. Wilbert Miller, a pastor of Augustana Lutheran Church in the District.
Bishop E. Harold Jansen of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America presented the check yesterday at a ceremony at Augustana.
"The money is being given for relief for people directly affected by the collapse of Latin Investment," Miller said. Lutheran Social Services will distribute the money to applicants through Augustana Church, which has a Hispanic pastor, the Rev. Leonel Cruz, and a significant Hispanic population.
Latin Investment, which was operating without a bank charter or federal deposit insurance, closed Nov. 29 amid financial difficulties. An estimated $6.5 million was lost by its depositors, most of them Central American immigrants who had entrusted their life savings to Latin Investment.
Shortly after it closed, it was learned that six local and federal agencies, including the D.C. banking office and the U.S. attorney, had known for two years that the company was conducting banking operations without a charter, but they took no action.
Miller said it was unclear how many families would receive money, but said he was hopeful that "appoximately 100 families could be helped."
People who want to qualify for the emergency money must make appointments with the Latin Emergency Fund at Augustana Lutheran Church, 1511 V St. NW.
The telephone number is 202-462-3237. Interviews will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, Miller said.