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From Buildings and Loans to Bail-Outs: A History of the American Savings and Loan Industry, 1831-1995 Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 5, 2004

ISBN-10: 052182754X

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, July 5, 2004
$83.49 $57.16

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 5, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052182754X
  • ASIN: B004JZX4FK
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,723,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Mason has produced a readable introduction to the S&L industry. Recommended." R. Grossman, Wesleyan University, CHOICE

"[T]he first complete history of the savings and loan industry." Towns Country Herald

"Mason shows that thrifts, though European in origin, thrived in the US because they became the quintessential American institutions, ones based on voluntary association, dedicated to self-help and, ultimately, egalitarian in spirit and operation. Thrifts were run by and for the Irish, for Catholics, for Slovaks, for Poles, for railroad workers and for shopkeepers. There were even thrifts run by and for women and blacks long before other institutions welcomed or served them. Mason repeatedly reminds us that the thrift industry was envisioned as a leveling mechanism, one that promoted home ownership and renewed their participants' faith in the American dream." Howard Bodenhorn, Associate Professor of Economics, Lafayette College

"Here is a compact, authoritative, well-written history of the savings and loan industry from its modest start in 1831 to its partial recovery at the end of the twentieth century. Dr. David Mason has used his training as a business historian, as well as almost a decade of banking experience, to good advantage. Political as well as economic forces are thoughtfully presented. From Building and Loans to Bail-Outs reflects painstaking research." Benjamin J. Klebaner, Professor of Economics, The City College of the City University of New York

"...excellent, well-researched and well-written.." EH.net

"In this readable and well-paced treatment Mason places the S&L crisis into the broad historical sweep of the American thrift industry. Mason traces the development of the symbiotic, complex and sometimes dysfunctional relationship between the thrift industry's trade group and federal government regulation with meticulous scholarship and a keen eye for the broader social and economic context. The notes and references by themselves offer a valuable resource for any scholar interested in the field." Kenneth Snowden, Bryan School of Business and Economics, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

"Anyone studying the savings and loan industry in the United States will have to consult this book. Its lengthy footnotes, as well as its text, serve as a valuable guide for researchers." - American Historical Review, Marc Egnal, York University

Book Description

This is the first complete history of the American thrift industry from its origins in the mid-nineteenth century through the resolution of the savings and loan crisis in the 1990s. Because S&Ls offer affordable forms of consumer finance, these institutions have helped millions of people achieve the "American Dream" of home ownership. The thrift crisis of the 19080s and early 1990s dealt a severe blow to the financial health and reputation of the industry, and this book examines the events that precipitated the thrift crisis, the ways government resolved it, and how the industry reinvented itself in its aftermath.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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, we recommend this thorough report to anyone who's curious about the history of the thrift industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scott Deacle on June 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author presents a history of the U.S. savings and loan industry from its origins, when savings and loans were called "buildings and loans" to the mid-1990s, when the industry was limping out of a crisis that involved a massive federal government bailout. Mason is the rarest of commodities, an historian with experience in financial services. He is thus able to combine an understanding of how finance works with an understanding of the broader historical and social context in which finance takes place.

Mason draws on a variety of original and secondary sources -- industry newsletters, legislative documents, previous histories, and more -- to piece together a complete and coherent narrative of the industry's development. The breadth of coverage makes this book a useful reference for researchers who want to know important events and dates in the regulation and supervision of savings and loans and other thrifts. While comprehensive, the prose does not bog down in mind-numbing minutiae. From this book, one gets a sense of the character of savings and loans, the people who managed them, and the customers they served. At the same time, one can draw useful lessons about the economics of depository institutions and their regulation.
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