Seventy-one privately insured Ohio savings and loan associations, shut down Friday to prevent a run on deposits, will remain closed Monday while a special session of the state legislature considers proposals to reopen them, it was announced late tonight.
Gov. Richard F. Celeste, who met nonstop for hours with legislative and financial leaders, arrived here late tonight to make the announcement at an airport news conference.
The governor said that legislators will be asked to approve measures that would allow closed institutions to reopen after they have applied for federal insurance protection and met certain financial criteria.
The governor told the news conference that he hoped legislation would be approved within 48 hours and that the majority of the closed thrifts should be reopened "in a matter of days, not weeks."
Celeste said he would be "disappointed if many of the S&Ls didn't open before the end of the week." The bank holiday began last Friday.
He said he had presented his reopening plan to about 125 savings and loan association executives earlier in the evening and they indicated general support for it. The plan apparently emerged today after Ohio commercial bankers refused requests from the governor to take over the troubled thrifts, and federal banking officials balked at putting the institutions under federal protection.
Earlier today in Columbus, meetings intensified as the hours slipped by, and at 6 p.m. 17 pizzas and several cases of soft drinks were delivered as Celeste huddled with top state officials and legislators.
The governor reportedly was considering allowing about 40 of the strongest state-chartered thrifts to reopen Monday while keeping their weaker colleagues closed. This plan was expected to meet widespread opposition from affected institutions, however.
Representatives of about a dozen out-of-state banks have come to Ohio to look into buying these institutions, an aide to the governor said, but none has offered to purchase the entire group.
Meanwhile, more than 550 calls an hour flooded a telephone hot line set up across the street from the state capitol to answer questions from worried depositors about the bank holiday.
Celeste, using emergency powers, ordered the bank holiday at 7:30 a.m. Friday after $60 million was withdrawn from privately insured institutions Thursday. Federally insured banks and savings and loan associations remained open.
The run came in the wake of the collapse nine days ago of the Home State Savings Bank, which has 33 branches in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus.
Depositors at about a third of the state associations have been protected by the Ohio Deposit Guarantee Fund, a private insurance firm. But Home State losses were expected to deplete the $130 million in the fund.
Celeste, in the biggest political crisis of his career, has worked frantically the last three days, flying between Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati for meetings. His goal has been to find a buyer for Home State and a way to bring the state thrifts under federal insurance protection.
The crisis is a politically sensitive one for Celeste, a Democrat in his third year in office. Home State, owned by his chief political fund-raiser, Marvin L. Warner, failed after reportedly losing more than $140 million in the collapse of ESM Government Securities Inc. Two of ESM's chief officers contributed to Celeste's campaign.
About 500,000 people hold deposits in the closed institutions, 46 of which are in the Cincinnati-Dayton area, where concerns about the crisis have been gravest.
Community leaders there have mounted an effort to rebuild confidence in the savings and loans over the weekend. A number of popular talk show hosts, for example, have told their listeners they intend to make deposits as soon as the institutions reopen.