S&L's rank high on new-firms list

What's the hottest kind of business to start up these days? If you guessed gelato-style ice cream shops or software programming or even mail-order boutiques, you'd likely miss the mark.

In many states, particularly California, state-chartered savings and loans are topping the list of start-up enterprises. A passel of applicants have been spurred by recent relaxation of state and federal regulations making it easier to set up and operate this type of financial institution.

If all the applications now in the system are approved, the number of savings and loans in the state will double to around 250. Up to mid-August, there have been twice as many approved already (60) as were approved in all of 1982 (30).

The nascent savings and loans are attractive because they will be filling a local market gap ignored by larger institutions. Also, the new S&Ls are not burdened with the long-term, low-interest loans some of the older S&Ls are lugging around.

In July the California Department of Savings and Loan took steps to insure high standards among the new applicants: Applicants must now file viable business-operations plans; directors must come from real estate or S&L backgrounds; start-up capital requirements have been raised 50 percent; and principal shareholders must be responsible for keeping asset-liability ratios in line, even to purchasing additional stock if necessary.

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