Cheers And Tears Greet Decision To Reunite Depositors With Their Money
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ As 500 jubilant Home State Savings Bank depositors cheered at the Statehouse Rotunda after lawmakers approved a bill to reunite them with their money, Linda Swenski wept and embraced her husband.
″I’m so glad it’s over,″ said Mrs. Swenski of Cincinnati, after the 17-16 Senate vote Tuesday to use $125.3 in state money to help sell the shuttered Home State savings and loan, probably to Chemical New York Corp. ″We’ve had so much bad news lately; we deserve some good news.″
Other Home State depositors who lined stairways and hallways outside Senate chambers roared their approval moments after the bill passed. Gov. Richard Celeste signed the measure into law later Tuesday.
Mrs. Swenksi, 33, said she and her husband, Mark, have about $6,000 locked up in Home State, two-thirds of which they’re setting aside for their child’s college education.
Swenski, 34, said he was relieved the bill passed, but he noted 16 senators voted against it.
″It makes you wonder what they’re thinking,″ he said. ″There are 16 people I wouldn’t want to vote for again.″
Sen. Donald Lukens, whose decision to change his vote allowed the once- defeated bill to pass, drew prolonged cheers from the crowd after Celeste thanked him for his support.
Later, at a news conference in which he signed the bill into law, Celeste said it probably would be the week of June 17 ″at the earliest″ before depositors are reunited with their money. He said it could still take two weeks to complete the sale of Home State.
″I’m thankful to the good Lord,″ said Oma Shaw of Miamisburg. She said the bill was ″the answer to our prayers.″
″We saved all our lives for that money,″ Mrs. Shaw said.
Ed Warrell of Dayton, who said he has $45,000 in the thrift, said many depositors cannot afford to lose what money they have in Home State.
″Ten thousand dollars to some people is like $100,000 to others,″ he said.
Warrell, 62, countered criticism over the part of the bill injecting $125.3 million in state money in the deal to help recapitalize the failed Home State. He noted that farmers are subsidized by federal money.
Farmers get paid ″just to leave their ground open,″ said Warrell’s wife, Dorothy. ″We’re trying to save for retirement.″
Minutes before the Senate went into session, several hundred depositors gathered outside the Statehouse in the rain for a rally, shouting: ″No more delays, a yes vote today.″ Many carried signs reading: ″Get off my assets,″ ″Senators, leave your politics at the door″ and ″I’ve been robbed by a bank.″
Joseph Kawecki of Columbus, a Home State customer who helped organize the rally of depositors from Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, said moments after the vote that he was ″ecstatic.″ Lukens said three other Ohio institutions and one in Pennsylvania were possible buyers, besides Chemical. The only one he identified was the Lindner Group of Cincinnati, which owns American Financial Corp. and Provident Bank of Cincinnati.
Home State closed March 8 after nervous depositors withdrew more than $150 million following the collapse of ESM Government Securities, Inc., of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Home State had heavily invested in ESM.