Savings and loan association

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A savings and loan association (savings and loan, S&L, also called a thrift) is a cooperative association organized to hold savings of members in the form of dividend-bearing shares and to invest chiefly in home mortgage loans.[1]


Savings and loan associations originated with the building societies of Great Britain in the late 1700s. They consisted of groups of workmen who financed the building of their homes by paying fixed sums of money at regular intervals to the societies. When all members had homes, the societies disbanded. The societies began to borrow money from people who did not want to buy homes themselves and became permanent institutions. Building societies spread from Great Britain to other European countries and the United States. They are also found in parts of Central and South America.

The Oxford Provident Building Association of Philadelphia, which began operating in 1831 with 40 members, was the first savings and loan association in the United States. By 1890 they had spread to all states and territories.[2]

S&L crisis

The savings and loan associations industry in the US suffered greatly during the Savings and loan crisis in the 1980s.


  1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. "Savings and loan association", referenced 2011-06-16.
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica. "savings and loan association", referenced 2011-06-16.