Behind the S&L Crisis

November 4, 1988

Report Outline
Special Focus


Banks and savings and loan associations are failing in post-Depression record numbers because of a combination of factors—deregulation, problems in the oil industry and a few crooks. Fortunately, your deposits still seem to be safe. Your tax dollars, however, may be more at risk. Estimates of the cost of bailing out the savings and loan insurance system run as high as $100 billion.

Go to top


Long lines of panicking customers wait to pull their money out of failing banks and crumbling savings and loan associations. Lawmakers in Washington heatedly debate the correct government response to the mounting crisis, while the nation contemplates the haunting specter of a collapsing financial marketplace. The scenes evoke some of the most harrowing images of the Great Depression.

Unfortunately, the time is the 1980s, a decade that has witnessed the largest bank failures in American history and a crisis in the savings and loan industry that analysts are now describing as epidemic in proportion.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 20, 2023  The Future of Cryptocurrency
Apr. 06, 2018  Financial Services Deregulation
Sep. 26, 2014  Digital Currency
Oct. 05, 2012  Euro Crisis
Jan. 20, 2012  Financial Misconduct
Jan. 13, 2012  ‘Occupy’ Movement
Oct. 24, 2008  Financial Bailout Updated
Sep. 01, 2000  The Federal Reserve
Jun. 22, 1990  S&L Bailout: Assessing the Impact
Nov. 04, 1988  Behind the S&L Crisis
Apr. 26, 1985  New Era in Banking
Nov. 18, 1983  Bankruptcy's Thriving Business
Aug. 07, 1981  Banking Deregulation
Jul. 19, 1974  Banking Stability
Jul. 17, 1968  Banking Innovations
May 06, 1964  Monetary Policy in Prosperity
May 16, 1940  Revision of the Securities Acts
Feb. 27, 1937  Expansion of Branch Banking
Sep. 03, 1935  The Decline of Commercial Banking
Dec. 11, 1934  Proposals for a Government-Owned Central Bank
Sep. 12, 1934  Bank Reserves and Credit Inflation
Nov. 27, 1933  Bank Credit in Depression and Recovery
Aug. 12, 1933  Closed Banks and Banking Reform
Apr. 04, 1933  Unified Control of Banking
Apr. 09, 1932  The Glass Banking Bill
Mar. 24, 1932  The Guaranty of Bank Deposits
Apr. 17, 1930  The International Bank and the Gold Standard
Feb. 08, 1930  Branch Banking and Chain Banking
Apr. 29, 1929  Mergers of Banking Institutions
Oct. 28, 1927  The Federal Reserve Rate Controversy
May 21, 1927  Labor Banking and Finance Since 1920
Jan. 31, 1924  The Northwestern Bank Failures and the Attack on Treasury Savings Certificates
Dec. 01, 1923  Why State Banks Do Not Join the Federal Reserve System, the Effect on the System and the Issues Involved
Nov. 23, 1923  Branch Bank Controversy
Financial Institutions
Oil and Natural Gas
Regulation and Deregulation