2 More Ohio S&Ls; Will Get U.S. Insurance

From Times Wire Services

Two more savings and loans on Tuesday were given conditional approval for federal deposit insurance, while customers of the lone financial institution still closed said they were stepping up efforts to get it reopened.

Lisa Neidich, one of the locked-out Home State Savings Bank depositors, said she and half a dozen others have formed committees planning letter-writing and petition campaigns to pressure Gov. Richard F. Celeste and other state officials to get it quickly sold and reopened.

Home State, based in Cincinnati, closed March 9 after massive withdrawals by depositors alarmed by the court-ordered closing of a Florida securities dealer. A week after Home State's closing, Celeste declared a banking emergency, closing Ohio's 69 other thrift institutions whose deposits were insured by the state rather than the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp.

In Washington, meanwhile, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board approved membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank system to Addison Savings & Loan Co. of North College Hill and to Oakley Improved Building & Loan Co. of Cincinnati, allowing them to reopen for unlimited business, said Bob Moore, a board spokesman.

That brings to 22 the number of thrifts that have been granted such approval, according to the state. Another 32 requests for federal insurance are pending, Moore said.

The other 15 are in various stages, including being under consideration for mergers with other institutions that already have FSLIC coverage.

All of the closed institutions except Home State have since been given permission to reopen for at least limited business, allowing customers to make unlimited deposits but withdrawals of only $750 per month.

While some institutions have reported heavier-than-normal transactions, the increased demand has been attributed to customers' needs for cash--not panic about the safety of their deposits.

In another development, the FBI subpoenaed state Department of Commerce records in its probe of the collapse of Home State Savings Bank, Ohio Savings and Loans Superintendent Robert McAlister said Tuesday.

He told a news conference that the subpoena had been served to the department when he took over his new post March 22, and the FBI is asking that the records be delivered no later than April 4.

At his daily briefing on the numbers of state-chartered S&Ls; that have reopened under emergency legislation enacted March 20, McAlister also said he has received inquiries for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission and from at least one congressional committee.

The records being sought were not specified, but McAlister said, "I understand they (the FBI) are investigating everything."

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