Three Utah savings and loans are insolvent and the industry statewide suffered an $11 million loss during the first quarter of 1988, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board said.
Names of the insolvent institutions were withheld from the list issued this week to avoid a depositor run on the federally insured savings and loans, the board said.Depositors at the three institutions are insured up to $100,000 by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., the deposit insurance arm of the FHLB system.
"Depositors are insured and will continue to be insured. They are our top priority," said Elizabeth Hutchinson, spokeswoman for the FHLB of Seattle, which oversees Utah's federally insured or chartered savings and loans.
"I am confident the federal government will honor all obligations of the FSLIC," added Utah Financial Institutions Commissioner George R. Sutton, noting that a recent federal statute put the federal government's full faith and credit behind the FSLIC.
Hutchinson said federal regulators are working on a combination of ways to recapitalize the troubled Utah institutions, including FSLIC assistance, money from outside investors and a merger and acquisition at some point.
She said the problems should be worked out by the end of the year.
Despite the first period losses, Utah's savings and loans increased their liabilities as deposits grew $19.3 million, or 1.4 percent, to a total $3.59 billion on March 31, 1988.
In other Mountain West states, Colorado's savings industry suffered a first quarter loss of $25 million and has seven insolvent institutions; Idaho's savings institutions had losses of less than $1 million and has one insolvent institution; and Wyoming savings and loans registered a $5 million loss and two insolvent operators.
The losses suffered in Utah are paltry compared to Texas, where 133 out of that state's 279 thrifts are insolvent and first quarter losses were $3.4 billion. Total first period losses suffered by the savings industry nationwide were a record $3.7 billion.
"If we can stem the tide in Texas most of our problems are behind us," Hutchinson said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, FHLB chairman M. Danny Wall said the FSLIC needs $36 billion to cover deposit liabilities in the nation's 504 insolvent savings and loans.
Although Sutton is confident Utah depositors will not suffer from the national crisis, he expressed concern about the effect it's having on healthy institutions and taxpayers.
"Some of the healthy institutions have to pay above average rates to keep deposits and avoid liquidity problems and that pinches profits," he said.
In addition to the higher rates, federally insured savings and loans have had to pay increased assessments on top of insurance premiums, knocking profitability in half, Sutton said.
Concerning a taxpayer bailout of the FSLIC, the industry has avoided that through its income from member premiums and bond issues, but Sutton believes that in order for the FSLIC to meet all of its obligations Congress must call on taxpayers to pitch in.
"It's not a matter of if, but when and how much," he said.