U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

White-Collar Crime in the Savings and Loan Scandal

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1993
15 pages
This article elaborates on the nature and scale of white collar crime in the savings and loan crisis and overviews the thrift industry and the impact of deregulation on opportunities for fraud.
The authors note that financial losses incurred in the savings and loan crisis are partially the result of deliberate and widespread criminal activity. The combination of deregulation, increased government deposit insurance, and the lack of effective oversight mechanisms has provided a "criminogenic environment" in the thrift industry. As policymakers attempt to bail out thrifts, it is important to examine the etiology and dynamics of criminal activities that played a major role in the demise of savings and loan institutions. Fraudulent activities are discussed under the general headings of unlawful risk taking, collective embezzlement, and covering up. Similarities are noted between criminal activities of thrift operators and persons associated with traditional organized crime. Government enforcement issues are addressed that focus on both statutory changes and the law in action. Further research, focused on the thrift and banking industries and on other comparable financial institutions, is recommended to understand the theoretical dynamics of white collar crime in the post-industrial period. 48 footnotes

Date Published: January 1, 1993