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periences in the informal time also are of great value and overlooked as such by comparatively few, if any. Both in giving and receiving information, speaker and listener, when the true measure of those gathered is considered, each attains growth that follows him to his home people and duties to both his and their immediate betterment. No live official goes away without new ideas that can be adapted to his locality and conditions, otherwise attendance, cost considered, would not be worth the while. It is considered a personal sacrifice of valuable time by the delegates, who are naturally men with large business demands on them. Their attendance thus rightfully assumes a devotion to the cause they hold dear and which they are ever ready to aid to the very best of their ability.”
* * * The Philadelphia Ledger contains the following tribute to the social features provided by the Building Association Council of the District of Columbia : .
“It is the positive opinion of every delegate who attended the twenty-second annual gathering of the United States League of Local Building and Loan Associations at Washington, D. C., that in all respects, so far as the entertainment of the delegates, their wives and daughters was concerned, it was the most elaborate and continued of any convention held since the League was organized. The success of this part of the convention was entirely due to James J. Shea, his capable assistants and the men and women belonging to the building society fraternity of Washington. When the conventions met upon two occasions in Philadelphia the 960 associations of the City of Brotherly Love believed that they had done the best, but the delegates from Pennsylvania bow to the Washington associations and acknowledge with pleasure complete defeat.”
Not Affected by the War. In an interview concerning the possible effect of the war on the realty market, Mr. Elwood W. Phares, of Elizabeth, N. J., expressed the following opinion:
“There is one phase of the real estate field that the war has not touched at all, and which it does not seem the war will affect, and that is the building and loan associations. Despite the fact that many banks in this country have experienced runs, and many have had to take advantage of the sixty-day clause in their charters, the building and loan associations have not lost any of their members.
"The members of the various building and loan associations need have no concern about the effect of the war upon their organizations, for in times like these the conservative investor in building and loan organizations knows that these investments, which are all based on realty values, are less affected by financial fluctuations than any other securities.”
Education of the Public to the Building and Loan
Plan of Thrift. Address delivered before the U. S. League meeting by Mark D. RIDER, of Chicago,
President Building Association League of Illinois. Past achievements, feeble or great, are the footholds of present stability, stepping-stones for future ambitions. No institution can prosper on its past records alone. Constant development, backed by renewed supplies of energy, skill and push are required. The accomplishments of last month, or last year, must serve as an incentive
things this month and this year. “Achievements of the past are measurably like last year's calendars"-We must push ahead-keep moving.
"To teach people how not to be poor is the function of modern philanthropy," says Amelia Sears, director of the new Bureau of Public Welfare. "Helping men and women to gain ndependence is infinitely better than merely relieving their immediate needs."
The American people, especially our workingmen and women, are living in an extravagant age, have wandered far from the old standards of thrift, the era of high thinking and plain living so proudly set forth in our early history. The fact that our extravagance has reached such a point forces upon us the requisite that it is absolutely necessary for such institutions as ours, posing as the poor man's friend, to lead in the illustration, publication and distribution of facts and figures describing our old, wisely established plan of thrift. You are well aware that the American Bankers' Association has inaugurated a campaign of "Education in Thrift" to interest the present generation in the old fashioned ideas of thrift and systematic saving. This forces upon us the truth that the building and loan interests have not brought before the public as they should their great plan of saving and home building facilities, which fully and better provide all the benefits that are promised by the bankers' in their campaign. Let us now take advantage of this new wave of thrift that is sweeping over our country and which is being spread by our daily press, magazines, and literature of every kind, by the banking interests, and by a united effort place before the people the advantages of the building and loan plan of saving. Samʼl Smiles says: “Thrift is not a natural instinct. It is an acquired principle of conduct."
As President of the Illinois League, I have conducted a several sided, persistent campaign to get in touch with the individual associations of our State League and to that end published and mailed a letter monthly to both members and non-members of our State League regarding advertising and their facilities for same, inviting correspondence on the subject. As a result I have found that but with very few exceptions the extent of advertising by the associations consists of the printing and mailing of a quarterly or annual statement to members, with possibly the publication of it in the local
paper, and perhaps a little booklet sent out with the statement to members, scarcely anything to the general public. This can hardly be termed advertising, general publicity or education.
A writer for the Chicago Daily News, calls attention to the lack of publicity by the building and loan in the following:
"Building and loan associations ought to do more to make themselves known to the people. I criticise them for being over-conservative in that respect. The other day I had a letter from a woman in Chicago who said that until she read one of my little articles she had the impression that building and loan associations are rather shaky; she didn't know of any in Chicago; and she wanted to know if it is really true that in a short time, by turning rent money into a building and loan association, you can cease to pay rent and apply the payments on the purchase of a home.
"I'd like to see in every newspaper of general circulation a department devoted to the news and gossip of home builders, with a note of encouragement running all through it. Most city newspapers pay a good deal of attention to ordinary real estate news—and they are justified in this because the dealers make their transactions interesting. Let the co-operative home building associations pay more attention than they have done to letting people know that they are on the job.”—John M. Oskinson.
The above is only one of the many instances brought to my notice of the public knocking at the door for building and loan information.
The mystery and dignity of the banking business as it appears to the uninitiated public, is even more puzzling and bewildering when reference is made to the building and loan association. We must extract the mystery from it, couch explanation of it in plain words, impressing the public with the vital fact that time is interest, that everything on earth grows, multiplies and compounds itself, when placed in its proper channel and rightly fed to promote its growth. Most of our great financiers of the present day were once poor boys who took early advantage of every opportunity to save. The accumulation of their savings brought them opportunities for greater financial achievements. Many of our greatest statesmen and lawyers came from humble homes, where early experience in thrift and economy led to the desire for greater knowledge and lives of service to their fellowman and country. Taking advantage of the building and loan plan of accumulating our savings from a penny to a dollar, from a dollar to a hundred, and a hundred to a thousand, thereby gaining a competency and a home, is the definite reward of building and loan thrift. From a small seedling great oaks grow. Great oaks do not become such in a day or year, but require the growth that comes with time, health, sunshine and storm to make them sturdy and strong. All nature teaches this man is the only product of the earth who persists in the waste that follows loss of time, energy and accumulative power, material and money.
Education of the boy and girl, the man and woman, to the building and loan plan of thrift, should be our chief study and practical application. Mr. S. W. Strauss, President of the American Society of Thrift, recently said: “It is most important to the American people to accept the idea of teaching thrift in the school. School equipment valued at over two billion dollars, stands idle a
quarter of the year. In three months hundreds and thousands of children could learn thrifty habits through systematic instruction. The great trouble with Americans is not only with the poorer classes, but the men with salaries of $3,000 and $4,000 who are seeking to live the same as a $10,000 man. The only thrifty idea of that class is to sink their savings in get-rich-quick schemes. Americans must learn that saving is the only real thrift.”
We pay a large percentage of our taxes for school purposes and the schools are idle one quarter of the year. Who would allow his property to remain so idle? Why not teach the parents during that time "thrifty habits through systematic instruction," and thereby benefit not only the present but coming generation. What an opening for education is lost sight of. Lectures on general subjects, to which the parents are invited, are delivered in the Chicago schools during the school terms, and invariably the halls will not hold the crowds that wish to attend. People are hungry for education, but we Americans have lost sight of that in our pursuit of the dollar for our own pocket by any means attainable.
That educational advertising has become a necessity for public service institutions is evidenced by the class of corporations found advertising in our columns today. Let me call attention to the following statements made by Geo. B. Cortelyou, president of the Consolidated Gas Company of New York City (capitalized for one hundred million dollars), and which for ninety years pursued a policy of silence, written to the Printer's Ink (an authoritative advertising publication) :
“I believe that publicity of the right kind offers to public service corporations a legitimate opportunity not only for the promotion of their sales, but for the improvement of their relations with the public. The importance of such publicity has long been recognized by merchants and manufacturers who, through its aid, have built up a country-wide demand for their products, and to whom advertising is one of the conditions of their progress, even their existence. But for publicity to be successful certain things are essential. The corporation must live up to its advertisements. It must give proof that its desire to serve its patrons is genuine; that it realizes that the confidence of the public is the corporation's greatest asset, and to win that confidence it must first deserve it. Any resort to publicity in an attempt to shield itself from its wrongdoing or from any other unworthy motive is sure to react injuriously upon it.
"Before embarking upon a campaign of publicity it should examine closely its organization and methods, and make such adjustments in them as may be necessary in order that it may appear before the public with clean hands and without suspicion of ulterior purpose. In a word, the public service corporation should meet the public half way in a full and frank discussion of its aims, its policies and its products. When this is done it has impregnable ground from which to defend itself against unjust attack. It will find, also, that along with the better relations between it and its public will come an increased volume of business, thus showing that the material reward, which is so essential to business enterprise, is not lacking when well considered advertising is used which reflects sincere and continued effort to serve the people.”
Building associations are public service corporations, by the people and for the people, and time and results have proved that
we can live up to our advertisements. Publicity education will overcome erroneous ideas regarding building and loan associations, hostile public prejudice in sections where associations have been suffering from the effects of disastrous failures in the days when associations were not under state supervision. Building association advertising by syndicated effort is something more than an ambitious dream. In other association work it is an actual achievement in cases so numerous that no escape is left from conclusion that the constructive powers of the right kind of advertising are today only half appreciated. However, it is a work for which the individual association is largely handicapped. This is no singlehanded job; no individual association has a view broad enough to do the work alone. It can only be rightly, wisely done by the United States League, which is in a position to command a bird'seye view of the conditions and the needs of the whole country. But in this the United States League must have the assistance and support of all the State Leagues and the individual associations and members thereof and their efforts towards publicity to make its own work effective. An effort less comprehensive than this is too limited for safe and vigorous publicity.
The building and loan plan of thrift extension spells Co-operation! Why not inter-co-operate in publicity ? Let us get in line with our banking institutions and publish periodically in their and similar publications, as well as in the daily papers of our cities and towns and the various trade journals of building trade materials, magazines and investment journals, articles of interest explanatory and furthering the cause of educating the uninitiated public to the building and loan plan of saving. Publishers of these journals are at all times anxious to get for use good reading matter. This, however, would demand an organized effort such as a publicity bureau, with an editor at a stated salary, under the direct supervision of the United States League and the State Leagues, to whom all matters of general interest could be sent for publication-a fountainhead, as it were, from which the individual associations can draw. Here would also be prepared and furnished newspaper matter for press associations and our home newspapers in stereotype form, circulars and illustrated pamphlets, which could be printed in such quantities that the expense per thousand would be very nominal, so worded that any association need only add its name for distribution purposes, in the way of education, advertising and publicity of the building and loan plan of thrift. These could also be translated into foreign languages, and thereby educate the foreigners in their own language at the source. New York's immense foreign population is being supplied by nearly two hundred daily, weekly and monthly periodicals, all printed in that city
All other large cities have publications in foreign languages. In other words, a complete campaign of publicity could be operated from such a department-an absolute necessity at this day and time for the extension and perpetuation of all building and loan associations.