IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The prolonged resolution of troubled real estate lenders during the 1930s


  • Jonathan D. Rose


This paper studies how building and loan associations (B&Ls) slowly unwound their obligations following a set of financial shocks during the Great Depression, with a special focus on a group of particularly troubled B&Ls in Newark, NJ. Investors in B&Ls disagreed over whether to realize losses on foreclosed real estate holdings, and those investors favoring liquidation were unable to force action after legal developments nullified statutory withdrawal privileges. In the medium run, a market-based resolution mechanism developed in the form of a secondary market for B&L liabilities. Liability holders barred from withdrawal incurred large losses while liquidating their investments on this market. At the same time, B&Ls used the market to avoid realizing some losses by exchanging foreclosed real estate for their second-hand share liabilities. More formal resolution ultimately took place from 1938 to 1943, first consisting heavily of closures, and then of reorganizations. Reorganizations were spurred by a large scale federal intervention arranging for the creation of bad banks, liquidity injections, and liability insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan D. Rose, 2012. "The prolonged resolution of troubled real estate lenders during the 1930s," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-31, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-31

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
    2. Eugene N. White, 2014. "Lessons from the Great American Real Estate Boom and Bust of the 1920s," NBER Chapters,in: Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective, pages 115-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Courtemanche, Charles & Snowden, Kenneth, 2011. "Repairing a Mortgage Crisis: HOLC Lending and Its Impact on Local Housing Markets," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(02), pages 307-337, June.
    4. Price V. Fishback & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & William C. Horrace & Shawn Kantor & Jaret Treber, 2011. "The Influence of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation on Housing Markets During the 1930s," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1782-1813.
    5. Mark Carlson & Kris James Mitchener & Gary Richardson, 2010. "Arresting Banking Panics: Fed Liquidity Provision and the Forgotten Panic of 1929," NBER Working Papers 16460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gary Richardson, 2006. "Quarterly Data on the Categories and Causes of Bank Distress During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Snowden, Kenneth A, 1997. "Building and loan associations in the U.S., 1880-1893: the origins of localization in the residential mortgage market," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 227-250, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rose, Jonathan D. & Snowden, Kenneth A., 2013. "The New Deal and the origins of the modern American real estate loan contract," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 548-566.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-31. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.