Western Savings and Loan

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Western Savings and Loan
Private
Industry Savings and loan association
Fate Insolvency
Successor Bank of America Arizona (and later Bank of America)
Founded 1929; 88 years ago (1929) in Phoenix, Arizona
Defunct June 1, 1990; 27 years ago (1990-06-01)
Headquarters Phoenix, Arizona,
United States
Area served
Arizona, Utah
Key people
Junius Driggs, CEO
Douglas Driggs
Revenue $6 billion USD

Western Savings and Loan was an American financial institution founded by the Driggs family.

The Driggs family came to Arizona in 1921 after trading everything they owned—a bank, drugstore, hotel, and wheat farm in Driggs, Idaho—for a section of cotton land in Maricopa County. Their timing was unfortunate as cotton prices plummeted just as their crop came in and they were forced to take jobs selling building and loan certificates. In 1929, the Driggs family pooled $5,000 to found the Western Building and Loan Association, which became Western Savings.

Success and eventual failure[edit]

Western Savings and Loans eventually became a $6 billion savings and loan institution. Western shared a position on the list of the nation's 100 largest savings and loans with other Arizona-based institutions — MeraBank was number 27 on the list, Western came in at 37th, Great American was 67th, and Pima was 82nd. But in 1989, Western Savings moved into second place — not for its size, but for the amount of its losses, with a $1.06 billion net deficit, following a substantial but smaller loss the previous year. Western Savings was taken over by the Resolution Trust Corporation, the federal depositor for the savings and loan crisis bailout in June 1989.[1] In June 1990, Bank of America paid the Resolution Trust Corporation $81 million for Western Savings' $3.5 billion in deposits in 60 branches in Arizona and one branch in Salt Lake City, Utah, and converted the thrift into commercial bank called Bank of America Arizona.[2][3] In 1995, President Gary Driggs pleaded guilty to two felony charges and was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for five years.[4]

Accomplishments and recognition[edit]

American Newcomen honored Western Savings and Loan Association in the year of the company's 40th anniversary. Since it was formed by the Driggs family in the Spring of 1929, six months before the historic stock crash, Western Savings had at that time grown to become the largest savings and loan association in Arizona and among the 100 largest in the United States. The major objectives of the association were the encouragement of thrift and the promotion of home ownership. Over the years up to that point, more than 30,000 first mortgage loans had been made, totaling more than 390 million dollars, thus providing an important factor in the growth and development of Arizona.[5]

References[edit]

  • Thrift Executives: John and Gary Driggs; Arizona's Banking Brothers Branch Into Casinos, Hotels And Land New York Times November 7, 1982[1]
  • $1.5-Billion Suit Filed in S&L's Failure : Thrifts: Former officials and borrowers at Western Savings & Loan face civil fraud and racketeering charges. Los Angeles Times June 15, 1992[2]
  • Ranch Deal Symbol Of SL Crisis Washington Post November 14, 1990[3]
  • Arizona Thrift's Tangled Legacy Washington Post July 10, 1992[4]
  • http://marriottschool.byu.edu/marriottmag/summer03/alumni/index.cfm?loc=alumni#driggs