Savings-and-loan associations just used to take in savings deposits and lend out the funds on home mortgages - a simple business arrangement, all done at one time on low, low rates.
No more. The character of these institutions has changed a good deal - through catering to changing customer needs, through financial deregulation, and through branching out into new entrepreneurial fields. Also, instead of simply making and holding home mortgages, those that do deal in conventional mortgage loans now sell them to investors in secondary markets.
A recent survey of 200 thrift institutions by the Robert Charles Lesser firm (Los Angeles) showed that instead of being oriented only toward residential property, many S&Ls have developed an entirely different profile from say, 20 or 30 years ago. Eighty-six percent of those queried said they were now active as joint-venture partners in many varied enterprises. Sixty-nine percent felt they have become prominent in mortgage banking. Fifty-one percent agreed they were into straight real estate development. And 26 percent said they were finding new positions as syndicators.