Eight Maryland savings and loan institutions won conditional approval yesterday for federal insurance, bringing to nine the number of associations with such endorsement.
The conditional approval of the eight medium- to small-sized associations, including one in Laurel and one in Rockville, is believed likely to mitigate the effect of the crisis touched off by revelations of serious management problems and possible criminal misconduct at a Baltimore thrift.
Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes is expected to lift the $1,000 per-account monthly limit on withdrawals from the S&Ls that obtain conditional approval and appear likely to win final approval.
A spokesman for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the regulatory agency that granted the conditional approvals, said yesterday that "hopefully" the granting of final approval for federal insurance "will occur within the next few days."
The federal insurance, provided by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., an arm of the Home Loan Bank Board, guarantees each depositor's account up to $100,000.
The eight conditionally approved thrifts, with aggregate assets of $324.6 million, are:
Laurel Savings and Loan Association, Laurel, $66.5 million;
United Savings Association Inc., Rockville, $46.1 million;
St. Casimirs Savings and Loan Association of Baltimore, $72.6 million;
Madison and Bradford Savings and Loan Association, Baltimore, $64.4 million;
Madison Square Permanent Building Association, Baltimore, $53.9 million;
Putty Hill Permanent Building Association, Baltimore, $6.1 million;
Weekly Savings and Loan Association, Baltimore, $4.4 million;
The Columbian Building Association of Harford County, Havre de Grace, $10.6 million.
Chevy Chase, the Washington area's second largest S&L, won conditional approval from FSLIC on Thursday. Chevy Chase's $2.3 billion assets form a substantial fraction of the $9 billion held by Maryland's entire savings and loan industry.
In addition to the nine thrifts with conditional approval, the applications of a dozen others are still pending, said Bob Moore, the bank board spokesman. Maryland had 102 privately insured thrifts, but a new state agency set up under legislation signed early Saturday now insures all their depositors up to $100,000.
A state official predicted last night that "there will be a constant flow of savings and loans approved for federal insurance this week and next.
"There will be a constant progression that will restore public confidence," said Francis X. Pugh, assistant Maryland attorney general and chief counsel to the department of licensing and regulation.
Federally insured thrifts must demonstrate a 5 percent net worth, meaning assets must exceed liabilities by at least 5 percent.
Late Friday during the hectic special session prompted by the crisis, the Maryland legislature adopted a package that included measures specifically designed to help thrifts meet the federal net worth requirement.
Although Chevy Chase had won conditional approval from FSLIC, the thrift had been told Friday that it fell short of the federal insurance standard because it could not count as assets funds it had deposited with the private insurance corporation, the Maryland State Savings-Share Insurance Corp.
In the special session, the legislators worked out a plan under which thrifts could augment their net worth by reclaiming deposits made with MSSIC. In return the state is to get nonvoting stock in the thrifts.
Another part of the package provides for the state to bolster the thrifts' assets by issuing notes in return for equity in the S&Ls.
Ultimately, all the state's S&Ls will be required to to get federal insurance.
Maryland House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Baltimore) called yesterday's conditional approvals "obviously very good news," and said he looked forward to more.
Pugh, the assistant attorney general, said that "within a couple of days we will have worked out the precise terms" under which thrifts can get back part of their MSSIC deposits and receive assistance through the state's notes.
He said he expected that as soon as the paper work and details of those procedures are worked out the tentative federal approvals could be made final.
The savings and loan crisis reached major proportions more than a week ago as reports surfaced of problems at Old Court Savings and Loan and Merritt Commercial Savings and Loan, both Baltimore-based institutions. Old Court was forced into conservatorship, and Merritt voluntarily went into conservatorship.
Public confidence in the state's privately insured S&Ls eroded and withdrawals rose rapidly. The subsequent executive order limiting withdrawals has disrupted the lives of many depositors.
Pugh said last night that "right now all the savings and loans are insured either by the federal government or the state. That in itself is a milestone."