Forbearance by Contract: How Building and Loans Mitigated the Mortgage Crisis of the 1930s
52 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 2015
During the Great Depression, Building and Loans (B&Ls), the leading home lenders, had a structure that mitigated the crisis. Borrowers were owners of the B&L and dissolution of the institution required a two-thirds majority vote. Using panel data from New Jersey in the 1930s, we find that this voting rule delayed dissolution by about one year. The year delay allowed one-fourth of the borrowers in the at-risk B&L to pay off their loans, but nonborrowers lost share value. The net loss was roughly -0.67 percent of the value of all New Jersey B&L assets in the mid-1930s.
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