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S&L's rank high on new-firms list

What's the hottest kind of business to start up these days? If you guessed gelato-style ice cream shops or software programming or even mail-order boutiques, you'd likely miss the mark.

In many states, particularly California, state-chartered savings and loans are topping the list of start-up enterprises. A passel of applicants have been spurred by recent relaxation of state and federal regulations making it easier to set up and operate this type of financial institution.

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If all the applications now in the system are approved, the number of savings and loans in the state will double to around 250. Up to mid-August, there have been twice as many approved already (60) as were approved in all of 1982 (30).

The nascent savings and loans are attractive because they will be filling a local market gap ignored by larger institutions. Also, the new S&Ls are not burdened with the long-term, low-interest loans some of the older S&Ls are lugging around.

In July the California Department of Savings and Loan took steps to insure high standards among the new applicants: Applicants must now file viable business-operations plans; directors must come from real estate or S&L backgrounds; start-up capital requirements have been raised 50 percent; and principal shareholders must be responsible for keeping asset-liability ratios in line, even to purchasing additional stock if necessary.

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