Summary of From Buildings and Loans to Bail-Outs

A History of the American Savings and Loan Industry, 1831-1995

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From Buildings and Loans to Bail-Outs book summary
Everything you ever wanted to know about the American building and loan industry, from boom to gloom.


7 Overall

6 Importance

8 Innovation

7 Style


With thrifts like Washington Mutual now among the nation’s biggest financial institutions, and the excesses of the 1980s still fresh, it’s hard to believe that savings and loans once were nonprofit cooperatives. Yet, so-called buildings and loans were, in fact, altruistic associations that sought to give working-class people access to credit. Business historian David L. Mason lays out the little-known roots of the S&L industry in this intriguing study. He outlines the cultural, political and economic forces that shaped thrifts. While Mason doesn’t shy away from the S&L debacle of the 1980s, he makes it clear that he sides with the institutions. Readers looking for dirt on the crisis should look elsewhere. Still, getAbstract recommends this thorough report to anyone who’s curious about the history of the thrift industry.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How thrifts got their start;
  • Why the industry boomed after World War II; and
  • How thrifts melted down in the 1980s.


Altruistic Roots
Thrifts or savings and loan (S&L) associations, originally known as buildings and loan (B&L) associations or societies, started as nonprofit cooperatives that pursued the altruistic goal of giving working-class people access to cash and home ownership. Frank Capra...
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About the Author

David L. Mason, a banker for nearly 10 years, is an assistant professor of history at Young Harris College. He has a doctorate degree in business history from Ohio State University.

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