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BUILDING means it adopted to save its own credit reacted in favour of the societies generally. The Liberator disaster convinced everybody that something must be done towards avoiding such calamities in future. The Government of the day brought in a bill for that purpose, and several private members also prepared measures—most of them more stringent than the Government bill. All the bills were referred to a select committee, of which Mr Herbert Gladstone was the chairman. As the result of the deliberations of the committee, the Building Societies Act of 1894 was passed. Meanwhile the Rt. Hon. W. L. Jackson, a member of the committee, moved for an address to Her Majesty for a return of the property held in possession by building societies. This was the first time such a return had been called for, and the managers of the societies much resented it; there were no means of enforcing the return, and the consequence was that many large societies failed to make it, notwithstanding frequent applications by the Registrar. The Act provided that henceforth all incorporated societies should furnish returns in a prescribed form, including schedules showing respectively the mortgages for amounts exceeding £5000; the properties of which the societies had taken possession for more than twelve months through default of the mortgagors; and the mortgages which were more than twelve months in arrear of repayment subscription. The Act did not come into operation till 1st January 1895, and the first complete return under it was not due till 1896, when it appeared that the properties in possession at the time of Mr. Jackson’s return must have been counted for at least seven and a half millions in the assets of the societies. This has since been reduced to four and a quarter millions. In the two years 1897, 1898, the societies reduced their properties in possession from 14 per cent, of the whole of their mortgages to 10 per cent. Though this operation must have been attended with some sacrifice in many societies, upon the whole the balance of profit has increased rather than diminished; and if a loss is to be sustained, it is always best to face it at once and write it off. Thus this provision of the Act, though it greatly alarmed the managers of societies, has really been a blessing in disguise. The Act also gave power to the Registrar, upon the application of ten members, to order an inspection of the books of a society, but it did not confer upon individual members the right to inspect the books, which would have been more effective. It empowered the Registrar, upon the application of one-fifth of the members, to order an inspection upon oath into the affairs of a society, or to investigate its affairs with a view to dissolution, and even in certain cases to proceed without an application from members. It gave him ample powers to deal with a society which upon such investigation proved to be insolvent, and these have been exercised so as to procure the cheap and speedy dissolution of such societies. It also prohibited the future establishment of societies making advances by ballot, or dependent on any chance or lot, and provided an easy method by which existing societies could discontinue the practice of balloting. This method has been adopted in a few instances only. The Act, or the circumstances which led to it, has greatly diminished the number of new societies applying for registry. The statistics of building societies belonging to all the three classes mentioned show that there were on 31st December 1898, 2586 societies in existence in the United Kingdom. Of these, 2495, having 612,874 members, made returns. Their gross receipts for the financial year were £38,221,443. The capital belonging to their members was £34,606,447, and the undivided balance of profit £3,334,129. Their liabilities to depositors and

SOCIETIES 441 other creditors were £21,533,550. To meet this they had mortgages on which £44,449,008 was due, but of this £4,226,325 was on pi’operties which had been in possession more than a year, and £271,992 on mortgages which had fallen into arrear more than a year. Their other assets were £14,563,966, and certain societies showed a deficit balance which in the aggregate was £461,152. The total assets and income are more than three times the amount of the conjectural estimate made for 1870 by the Royal Commission, but though the increase of both in the twenty - eight years has undoubtedly been great, that estimate was probably under the mark. It is not too much to say that a quarter of a million persons have been enabled by means of building societies to become the proprietors of their own homes. (e. w. b.) United States. —11 Building and loan association ” is a general term applied in the United States to such institutions as mutual loan associations, homestead aid associations, savings fund and loan associations, cooperative banks, co-operative savings and loan associations, &c. They are private corporations, for the accumulation of savings, and for the loaning of money to build homes. The first association of this kind in the United States of which there is any record was organized at Frankford, a suburb of Philadelphia, 3rd January 1831, under the title of the Oxford Provident Building Association. Their permanent inception took place between 1840 and 1850. The receipts or capital of the building and loan association consists of periodical payments by the" members, interest and premiums paid by borrowing members or others, fixed periodical instalments by borrowing members, fines for failures to pay such fixed instalments, forfeitures, fees for transferring stock, entrance fees, and any other revenues or payments,—all of which go into the common treasury. When the instalment payments and profits of all kinds equal the face value of all the shares issued, the assets, over and above expenses and losses, are apportioned among members, and this apportionment cancels the borrower’s debt, while the non-borrower is given the amount of his stock. A man who wishes to borrow, let us say, $1000 for the erection of a house ordinarily takes five shares in an association, each of which, when he has paid all the successive instalments on it, will be worth $200, and he must offer suitable security for his loan, usually the lot on which he is to build. The money is not lent to him at regular rates of interest, as in the case of a savings bank or other financial institution, but is put up at auction usually in open meeting at the time of the payment of dues, and is awarded to the member bidding the highest premium. To secure the $1000 borrowed, the member gives the association a mortgage on his property and pledges his five shares of stock. Some associations, when the demand for money from the shareholders does not exhaust the surplus, lend their funds to persons not shareholders, upon such terms and conditions as may be approved by their directors. Herein lies a danger, for such loans are sometimes made in a speculative way, or on insufficient land value. Some associations make stock loans, or loans on the shares held by a stockholder without real estate security; these vary in different associations, some applying the same rules as to real estate loans. To cancel his debt the stockholder is constantly paying his monthly or semi-monthly dues, until such time as these payments, plus the accumulation of profits through compound interest, mature the shares at $200 each, when he surrenders his shares, and the debt upon his property is cancelled. Every member of a building and loan association must be a stockholder, and the amount of interest which a member has in a building and loan association is indicated by the number of shares H II. — 56