IN THE SAVINGS ASSOCIATION and co-operative bank business the year 1949 was a period of great progress and, at the same time, of setback for the principle of debt-free home ownership accomplished through individual thrift.

Evidence of the progress is seen in the fact that the growth shown in the Statistical Report for 1948 (p. 109) was exceeded in 1949 to bring total assets to the unprecedented level of $14^4 billion for an increase during the year ended December 31, 1949, of $1,430,000,000. It is further apparent that the volume of loans to Americans for the acquisition of homes continued close to the 1948 level of $3,600,000,000.

It is heartening to note from the tone of the addresses and committee reports reproduced in this volume covering the proceedings of the 57th Annual Convention of the United States Savings and Loan League that the leaders of the business are equally concerned with the affairs of the nation as well as with the progress of their own business. The passage of the Housing Act which took this nation and particularly the savings association business a long step down the road toward a totalitarian state was one such concern. In spite of this blow, there is evident, a determination on the part of the leadership of the savings association business to continue fostering the virtues of thrift and home ownership among the people of this nation as one of the most effective means of halting the drift toward socialism as well as the growth and development of the savings association business and its contribution to the general welfare of a democratic nation.

This 20th volume in the current series of The Annals will look the same as its predecessors when you add it to your savings association bookshelf, but its format has been modernized in accordance with recent typographical progress and the tenets of good book-making. These changes, it is hoped, will encourage your perusal and use of its thought provoking and forward-looking materials.

M. K. M. Murphy