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Economic Brief

Jan. 8, 2019

Richmond Fed Highlights Building and Loan Associations

The Richmond Fed’s January Economic Brief provides a brief history of building and loan associations — cooperative organizations that financed homes for millions of Americans from the 1830s through the 1930s. This form of lending was prominently featured in the classic 1946 movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides web-exclusive essays on current economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District—including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia—to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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