First Maryland Savings and Loan is one of a number of state thrift associations that have collectively borrowed nearly $40 million from a new state insurance agency since its creation in mid-May, according to sources.
Though it could not be determined how much First Maryland alone has borrowed from the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund's $90 million liquidity fund, sources said that the Silver Spring thrift had been borrowing funds within the past two weeks. MDIF's liquidity fund, inherited from the privately run Maryland Savings-Share Insurance Corp., which was abolished by the General Assembly in May, is designed to provide thrift associations with readily available cash.
The nearly $40 million in MDIF loans has gone to "fewer than 10 institutions," said Norm Silverstein, Gov. Harry Hughes' assistant press secretary who is temporarily serving as a spokesman for MDIF. Silverstein, who declined to say which thrifts had received the funds, said all the loans were backed with twice their value in pledged collateral.
First Maryland may be considerably shy of meeting the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. requirement that thrift associations have cash or readily available assets on hand equal to 5 percent of total assets. First Maryland had reported assets of $443 million this year.
First Maryland President Julian M. Seidel, who this month said his association was roughly $15 million short of meeting the 5 percent federal net-worth requirement, said this week that a final figure on what his thrift needs is not yet available. He pointed out that there is no shortage of cash for customers' day-to-day needs.
Writing in response to a written question from The Washington Post asking whether his association still needed $12 million or whether it needed more than that, Seidel responded: "The exam by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board has not been completed. Until completion of the exam and a meeting of the supervisory staff of the bank board, a final figure will not be known. We have met with substantial investors who are interested in providing First Maryland with the necessary capital."
Legislation enacted by the General Assembly in May requires state-chartered thrift associations with more than $40 million in assets to acquire federal insurance by December. Those that fail to win FSLIC protection and that cannot be merged with or acquired by other financial institutions will be liquidated.
The acquisition of troubled thrifts by out-of-state banks would require enactment of new legislation by the General Assembly. The Hughes administration is conducting talks with large out-of-state banks, and First Maryland is said to be one of the thrift associations for which state officials are seeking a buyer.
In a related development today, state officials were informed that the Federal Home Loan Bank Board approved a procedure under which the state can issue "net worth certificates" to help associations obtain federal insurance.
So far, the state has conditionally approved the applications of 15 associations for $35 million worth of the certificates, which will be backed by a $100 million bond program authorized by the legislature.