Savings and Loan in South Florida Doesn't Offer Car Loans, Credit Cards, or Cash - Just High Rates
MIAMI -- One thing is conspicuously absent at tiny Investors Federal Savings and Loan Association -- cash.
Sure, there are teller windows, computer terminals, and soft carpeting like any other bank or S&L. But at this Deerfield Beach, Fla., savings and loan, there is nary a president's face in sight.
Opened on May 8 of this year with $4.5 million in capital, Investors Federal is the only financial institution in Florida that does not deal in cash. Customers cannot cash checks, they cannot make cash deposits, they cannot even bring in loose pennies.
Investors Federal also does not offer travelers checks, credit cards, checking accounts, or car loans. There are no drive-up windows, no automatic teller machines -- just one office and 18 employees.
The unused teller windows are on the sales block.
Customer Peter Stein, 71, a former manufacturers representative retired here from Yonkers, N.Y., says he banks at Investors despite the lack of cash.
"The concept is new," he says, aiming forefinger skyward. "Basically, it's a cost factor."
Investors Federal may be the only S&L of its kind in the country.
"I am completely unaware of a similar-type operation," says James Kendall, spokesman for the U.S. League of Savings Institutions.
Investors Federal is the newest of nearly a dozen S&Ls that have popped up within a three-iron shot of Century Villages, an 8,500-unit complex about 15 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale that is one of the biggest retirement communities in Florida.
And there is no mystery as to why all the financial institutions are there. Residents of Century Village have an estimated $800 million in deposits, or nearly $100,000 per household.
What Investors Federal sells, pure and simple, is higher interest rates. Yields on its savings accounts consistently are among the highest, if not the highest, in south Florida. Currently, its six-month certificate of deposit yields 8.55% interest, highest in that market. Its one-year CD yields 9%, second highest in the area, and its three-year CD 10%, the highest.
But not everyone can afford to bank in the small brick building. The minimum deposit is $10,000. All deposits must be made by check or money order. All withdrawals are paid by check.
High Rates and No Frills
"We're a low-service, high-rate S&L," says president and founder Steve Buckworth, the 45-year-old former head of asset/liability management at Southeast Bank in Miami and a one-time corporate planner at Citibank. …