thrift

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Federal Savings and Loan Association

A federally chartered bank that specializes in taking deposits for checking and savings accounts, as well as making home mortgages. Savings and loan associations tend to be smaller than other banks and are more focused on the local communities in which they operate. It is sometimes (but not always) easier to obtain a loan from a savings and loan association because it may have better knowledge of the local market. They derive most of their funds from customer savings accounts, but they also generally have easy access to loans from the Federal Home Mortgage Banks. They are also known as thrifts. They are regulated by the Office of Thrift Supervision.

thrift

A financial institution that derives its funds primarily from consumer savings accounts. The term originally referred to those institutions offering mainly passbook savings accounts. But the industry evolved through financial deregulation to the point where these accounts often provide only a small source of funds for many thrifts. The term often refers to savings and loan associations, but can also mean credit unions and mutual savings banks.