Maryland; Governor Names New Director for Much-Assailed Savings and Loan Division

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BALTIMORE -- Gov. Harry R. Hughes has appointed William M. Griffin director of the Maryland Division of Savings and Loan Associations, the state regulatory body that has received much of the blame for the collapse of the state's privately insured savings industry.

Mr. Griffin, 42, who has worked in the thrift industry and currently heads one of the largest credit unions in Baltimore, is to begin work on March 3. His appointment was announced by Gov. Hughes last Tuesday.

In taking control of the Division of Savings and Loans, Mr. Griffin will be responsible for taking a demoralized department and restoring confidence to its employees.

He succeeds Charles H. Brown JR., who retired last summer. Mr. Brown and his former deputy, william S. LeCompte Jr., who was recently forced to resign, were heavily criticized in an extensive report by the state's special counsel, Wilbur D. Preston Jr.

The special counsel, a position created last May ton investigate the causes of the state's S&L crisis, blamed Mr. Brown and Mr. LeCompte for failing to regulate the industry and for allowing executives of several savings and loans to allegedly violate the law and, in some cases, to allegedly engage in criminal activity.

Mr. Prston's allegations about widespread wrongdoing in the Maryland thrift industry "came as quite a bit of a shock," Mr. Griffin said. "I was definitely appalled at the apparent lack of regulation."

Because the state has so little control over the activities of the state-regulated thrifts, Mr. Preston is proposing an extensive rewriting of the Maryland law governing S&Ls. He is recommending that the legislature make the director of the division extremely powerful, with authority to remove S&L officers and directors, limit types of investments, and stop any unsafe and unsound practices. …