When a commercial borrower approaches Atlas Savings for a loan, he or she will be asked to pledge that there will be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
For example, if the borrower intends to do some building, he or she may have to agree to be willing to hire homosexual plumbers and electricians to do the job.
"If he's not prepared to do that," says John A. Schmidt, Atlas' chairman of the board, "he's come to the wrong place to borrow money."
That explains Schmidt, will be part of the operating plan for what is regarded as the first homosexual savings and loan association when it opens its doors for business here in January.
Schmidt, a 49-year-old insurance exective, is one of a small group of businessmen who got together two years ago and decided it was time for a homosexual-oriented S & L, in a city believed to contain up to 100,000 homosexuals. The result is Atlas Saving and Loan Association, due to open in a newly renovated 1,500-square-foot-office on upper Market Street in one of the city's homosexual communities.
"When two single men or two single women come in to talk about a home loan, all they'll usually get is a frown over the glasses of the loan officers," says Schmidt. "In our operation, there won't be that stigma."
The trend to S & Ls specializing in one type of client -- several have opened catering to women -- has emerged in California in recent years, according to the state department of savings and loan. But this is the first known to authorities that openly seeks business from homosexuals.
The formation of Atlas underscores the growing economic and political power attributed in this city to homosexuals, both male and female, as well as their social acceptance within the general population.
Avowed homosexuals hold positions on the board of supervisors, the public utilities commission and other local agencies. Homosexuals have been hired as police officers, with more than 14 percent of new police academy classes being made up of homosexual recruits.
"Minorities such as San Francisco's gays have survived only because of their economic clout," says Kenneth Maley, Atlas' director of public relations. "The thousands of housing units restored by gays, the hundred of businesses -- coupled with successful political organizations -- are making the gay community one minority in San Francisco that will not be moved by changing political climates."
Atlas Savings, in addition to attracting profit-minded investors, hopes to appeal to loan seekers who feel that elsewhere they may encounter discrimination as homosexuals.
Schmidt contends that even in San Francisco, with a reputation for tolerance, there still is discrimination against homosexuals. Loan applications from homosexuals are turned down as "Tom 'n Jerry" loans, although applicants are given other reasons, he says.
Atlas has won initial approval from state and federal authorities and is now in the process of selling stock the firm says that over $3 million has already been pledged to buy more than 160,000 shares of Atlas stock at $12,50 per share.