COLUMBUS, Ohio — Most of the state's privately insured savings and loans opened for the first time Saturday after more than a week of state-imposed closure and found business heavier than normal.
"Customers are hugging each other in the lobby. They're just glad to see each other again," said Gregory Markell, director of corporate communications for Mentor Savings Bank in northeastern Ohio.
For most of the state-chartered S&Ls, it was their first day of business since Gov. Richard F. Celeste ordered them closed March 15.
An Associated Press survey showed 50 open for at least limited service Saturday. Sixteen remained closed Saturday, and nine of those planned to reopen Monday. There was no answer to telephone calls to three of the institutions. The S&Ls began opening Thursday.
Problems in Ohio's savings and loan industry arose after the March 4 collapse of ESM Government Securities Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., securities firm in which Home State Savings Bank of Cincinnati had heavily invested.
Customers soon began a run on Home State that prompted it to close its doors March 9. When runs were reported at some other Cincinnati-area thrifts, Celeste ordered Ohio's 69 other privately insured S&Ls closed. Savings and loans insured by federal agencies were not affected.
An emergency law signed Wednesday by Celeste allows the closed institutions to reopen if they apply for federal insurance on deposits, are owned or have agreed to merge with a company already federally insured, or demonstrate to the satisfaction of the state superintendent of savings and loans that the interests of depositors will not be jeopardized.
Of the institutions that opened Saturday, 10 had received approval from the state to offer full service--unlimited deposits and withdrawals. The rest were permitting unlimited deposits but withdrawals of no more than $750.