The Training of a Secretary:
Filing Room And Library
Overlapping With Other Officers
The Private Secretary
The Social Secretary
The Building And Loan Association Secretary
For Any Secretary
Famous Secretaries And Their Careers
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The Building And Loan Association Secretary
( Originally Published 1922 )
Although a separate chapter may not be written on the duties of every one of the thirty or more varieties of secretaries referred to in Chapter XV, there is one member of the profession who is so important in our present civilization, that he is entitled to respectful consideration in this treatise, that is the secretary of the Building and Loan Association; for upon his intelligence and particularly upon his integrity depend the happiness and prosperity of millions of people in this country. Of these Associations there are some fourteen hundred in Philadelphia, which has been properly called the city of homes. That there are over four hundred thousand separate dwellings in the chief city of Pennsylvania, not counting the thousands in its beautiful suburbs, is one of the many reasons why it is such a desirable and agreeable place to live in, particularly when it is realized that these houses are spread over an area of one hundred and thirty square miles. One quarter of this is still undeveloped. I must be careful not to run away with myself when speaking of the advantages of Philadelphia as a place of residence. I could travel a long distance without stopping. I do not know how many homes have been acquired through the medium of the Building Associations. ' It is a very large number. In most cases the owners are persons of slender means, simple tastes and thrifty dispositions, and for the latter two reasons the people of Philadelphia as a class are prosperous, con-tented and poised beyond those of any other large city in the United States.
Ordinarily in a Building Association there are twelve to eighteen directors, three of whom act as a committee of examination on each property upon which money is to be loaned on mortgage, followed by another three on the succeeding property, and so on in rotation. The finances of these corporations are under the inspection and jurisdiction of the State Banking Department in Pennsylvania.
Let us return to the secretary. I should say that the outstanding characteristic of the Building and Loan Association secretary should be honesty. I believe that by common consent the secretary is considered as important as any other officer, if indeed he be not the most important of the officers.
He accepts and records the payments of the monthly dues of the members, a some-what onerous task. It is ' in this relation that the utmost care and rectitude are required, Members as a rule are not too particular to see personally that each payment is recorded, depending perhaps upon a friend to deposit dues for them, month after month, as long as the by-laws will permit. He, the secretary, is the inside bookkeeper while the treasurer is the general book-keeper.
In other countries Building and Loan Associations are known to be of very ancient origin. The first one in the United States was formed in Frankford in 1831, twenty-three years before the consolidation of the various districts and boroughs which now constitute the city of Philadelphia. It was called the Oxford Provident Building Association. From the beginning, Building Associations have been immensely popular in Philadelphia and they have spread throughout the country, but not always under the same name. They are sometimes called Mutual Loan Associations, Home Assistance Associations, Cooperative Savings and Loan Associations and in New England, Cooperative Banks, but all have the same objects and practically the same methods of procedure.
The World Almanac for 1921 records that in 1920 there were in Pennsylvania 2339 associations with a membership of 835,748 and assets of $400,797,507, followed by New Jersey with 841 associations, a membership of 354,564, and assets of 199,270,033; and in the United States there were 7788 associations with a total membership of 4,289,326 and total assets of $2,126,620,390.
The usual duties of the secretary as prescribed by the by-laws are given in Chapter V. In addition to these, if real estate is offered as security by a borrower, a description of it must be filed with the secretary and he in turn must describe it to the Appraisal Committee as well as see that borrowers produce their yearly tax receipts. Standard forms are prepared for carrying out these duties, nevertheless, they take time and add to the amount of work which the secretary must perform. There are other details which are attended to by the secretary, varying with the local rules of the association.
Building Associations and their work are so well known that I hesitate to proceed in any more particular way to describe them or those things which they accomplish. This is sure, their officers throughout the country form a body of responsible, reliable citizens who keep faith with their friends and the public, through whose labor a vast number of worthy people are benefited, and to whom their cordial admiration goes forth.