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differed from the statutes then in force. The last enacted law claimed such associations to be benevolent associations, and exempt, as mentioned in article 10, section 21, of the State Constitution, from the payment of tax on the capital stock, there being already an article in the statutes of 1879 governing the formation of benevolent, religious, educational, and miscellaneous societies, which under the constitution were exempt from payment of said tax on their capital stock when incorporating. The Secretary of State was of the opinion that this part of the act of March, 1887, was void, and declined to issue certificates of incorporation until the tax on the capital was deposited with the State Treasurer, to be held until the determination by the court of the question of the legality of that part of the act of 1887. Under this arrangement, 34 associations deposited with the State Treasurer the amount of the tax on their capital stock, aggregating $6,608. If the court sustains the associations, this money will be returned to them. This question in Missouri was earlier raised in New York, and has there been practically decided against taxation, because in that State savings banks are not taxed. There are States, however, such as Massachusetts, where savings banks are taxed; and there seems to be no reason why building associations may not be, should the public good require it. We are inclined to estimate the whole number of building associations in the former slave-holding States, exclusive of Delaware and Maryland, at 250; but they are fast increasing.
IN THE WEST AND NORTH-WEST.
In this section of the country, Ohio, and especially Cincinnati, was the pioneer in establishing building associations. Dr. P. A. Keck, of Cincinnati, has the credit of beginning the first one in that city in 1867, where there are now perhaps 350. Three years ago Dr. Keck wrote an account of his work in Cincinnati, in course of which he said :
There are too many building associations. At the time I started the system, I thought that five or six societies would be enough for
I the needs of the people of this city; but now there are so many that I think a great many people suffer by it,- the butcher, the baker, the doctor, the tenant, the landlord, and almost everybody else. Some of the members of the associations, instead of paying their debts, put their weekly earnings into these associations and get their dividends every year. It is my opinion that societies nowadays pay too much in the way of salaries and current expenses, such as the purchase of safes, etc. The object of such associations is the saving of small amounts by individual members, and the current expenses of the society should be reduced to the minimum figure. When I started the first society here, we paid our secretary $i a night, and afterward $2. Now secretaries are paid $5 a night; and even that amount is not considered enough by some people.
The whole number of these associations in Ohio can only be guessed at; for the Cincinnati member of our committee has been unable, through ill health, to collect the scattered statistics. There are about 400 associations in that city alone, or at least in Hamilton County; and in Dayton, Toledo, and many smaller cities these societies exist. It is supposed that Oh stands next to Pennsylvania in the number of its building associations, and that they exceed 600 in Ohio, while there may be 1,000 in Pennsylvania, large and small. In Cincinnati, the shareholders are estimated at 75,000; and the amount of weekly payments of all sorts is reckoned at $1,500,000. A further estimate gives $300,000,000 as the amount invested in Cincinnati by these associations in ten years; but this is probably excessive. They far outstrip the savings banks of Cincinnati in the amount of their investments, however, and in the number of their depositors. The majority of these are Germans or of German descent; but there are also Irishmen, Americans, negroes, and men and women of every race among them. The Ohio law was amended in 1886, after much discussion; but the financial system there pursued is open to some criticism from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Illinois comes next to Pennsylvania and Ohio in the number of its associations, which are nearly 300 in Chicago alone, and exceed 450 in the whole State. The valuable report of Professor Jenks of Galesburg, and the unique schedule prepared by him with great labor throw more light on the operation of these Illinois associations than his modesty has allowed him to mention. It appears that the 200 or more associations in Chicago alone have a much higher average number of shareholders than the 250 or so which exist in the rest of Illinois. Thus, while 16 Chicago associations average 589 shareholders, of whom 164, or more than 26 per cent., are women, the 37 associations outside of Chicago average only 244 shareholders, of whom only 54, or but little more than 22 per cent., are women. The loans to members in 24 Chicago associations average in a year $210,690 ; while in 53 other Illinois associations they average only $62,002. The average loan to a member in Chicago is $1,329, in the rest of Illinois $710; while the whole amount of Chicago loans in 24 associations is $5,056,578, and in 53 outside associations $3,286,092. It is probable that the most prosperous associations made reports, so that the average of loans to the amount of $108,350 in each association is doubtless too high for the whole 450 in Illinois ; but, if we call the average loan only $80,000 in a year, this would give for Illinois alone an aggregate of $ 36,000,000 as the yearly amount lent to shareholders by these associations. This is twice the amount of savings-bank deposits in the State, according to Professor Jenks; while the building associations are increasing their business much faster than the savings-bank business of the bankers of Illinois is increasing.
The early building associations mentioned by Professor Jenks as existing from 1849 to 1869 were rather speculative real estate companies than co-operative loan associations after the Pennsylvania model. Such began to be formed in Illinois after 1869, and the oldest now in existence dates from 1874. It was about the same time (1870–72) that building associations in Missouri began ; and probably Indiana, lying between the two States of Illinois and Ohio, did not have building associations much earlier than 1870. The number in that State can only be estimated, and our member, Mr. McCulloch, does not attempt to guess at it; but we may set it down as between 100 and 200. From Iowa, we have no returns, and cannot reckon her building associations at more than
The first was formed at Burlington in 1870, the second and third at Keokuk and Oskaloosa in 1872.
Michigan seems to have had an earlier experience with these societies, and one which for some years previous to 1875 gave the legal and financial leaders of that State a very unfavorable impression of their nature and results. Consequently, the State law of 1877, under which perhaps 15 or 20 building associations now exist, was far less favorable to their formation than the laws of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and finally of Illinois. This state of things was changed in 1887 by the passage of a law more satisfactory to the association members than the old law had been. Under this new law, about 40 new associations have already been organized, so that the whole number in the State may be about 50. Mr. Laverne Bassett, of Ann Arbor, who has collected what information he could (in place of Professor H. C. Adams) about the Michigan associations, gives their average membership as 180, and their “average authorized
capital" as $2,367,000,- one of them having an authorized capital of $5,000,000, while a new and small association has but $100,000 nominal capital.
Minnesota, though later of development than Michigan, has a much larger number of building associations, - probably not less than 125 at present, and fast increasing. A well-known journalist, Albert Shaw of Minneapolis, writes, in the “History of Co-operation in the United States” (published at Johns Hopkins University), the following statement: “Several of the most flourishing building and loan associations to be found anywhere in the country are established in the neighboring cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul ; and they have been the means of providing many hundreds of workingmen's families with pleasant homes of their own." He mentions eight of these associations in Minneapolis, the first of which began in 1874. In the whole State of Minnesota, as we are informed by a citizen of St. Paul, there are nearly 120 of these associations; and nearly or quite 50 of these are at St. Paul. Probably Minneapolis has 20 by this time. From 8,000 to 10,000 homes in St. Paul have been secured to their occupants by this new system of borrowing and guaranteeing. Whatever the figures of invested capital may be, they are changing so fast, from one day to another, that they give little real indication of the present state of things, still less of the accumulations that have really been made under this method of saving. As an experienced writer (M. J. Brown, of Philadelphia) says:
It is fair to suppose that about one-half of the income received by building associations for dues, etc., is now being laid out on account of matured shares and withdrawals; for many of these societies are now maturing series of shares every six months or every year. The capital increases largely until the shares begin to mature; but, when that point is reached, new shares admitted from year to year do not contribute any more than enough capital to take the place of the older retiring shares. In the Philadelphia associations, the cash income is more than half the capital, which would indicate an enormous capital growth; but the outgo is largely for matured shares and withdrawals, resulting in almost a fixed sum for the capital. This is really a factor in favor of the societies, for they are now distributing millions of dollars every few months to the members who have been saving for years for some cherished object.
What is true of Philadelphia has long been true, in this respect, of Cincinnati, and is now true of Chicago and St. Paul. The number of associations reported in the last-named city three months ago was 45, with an average of 3,000 shares in each one, and an average value of $50 a share. Assuming that this is true of the 120 in the whole State, this would give an investment of $18,000,000 in Minnesota alone; but this may be an overestimate. The deposits in Minnesota savings banks hardly exceed $2,000,000; and the rapid growth of these associations has certainly checked the growth of savings banks there, as it has in Rochester, N.Y., in Buffalo, in Pittsburg, and in every State west of the Alleghanies.
From Wisconsin, we have no information leading us to suppose that there are 50 building associations in the whole State, although they began there in 1882 or earlier. In Minnesota, they began in 1869, though their great development has been since 1880. · They exist in Nebraska, in Dakota, and in Montana; but from these we have no returns. In Kansas, they have lately made a very rapid growth, and now exceed 100 in that State.
ON THE PACIFIC COAST.
California has had these associations for some years, and for a time maintained a monthly newspaper devoted to their interests. In 1887 there were in California in building associations, with 30,000 shares and with assets of $2,595,488. This indicates large operations for each society, and points to a speculative element in the California associations, which is very apt to appear in that State or elsewhere when real estate speculations are going on actively. The reports of some of the California societies show average loans of $2,000, which is much above the Chicago rate and, we believe, higher than the Philadelphia rate. have nothing to prove that the California business is unsafely done ; and there are few States where there is greater need of some method to increase the number of small estates owned by their occupants. From the other Pacific States and Territories, we have no returns at all.
From all information attainable by the committee there is no reason to doubt that there are now above 3,000, perhaps even 3,500, co-operative building and loan associations in the United States, and that they provide for the investment, at any given time, of not less than $300,000,000. The accumulated investments in the form of houses and land, which have been paid for by the