Except for the past several years, Baltimore has always been an affordable town, and a town of homeowners. One reason was the savings and loan industry, which was brought over by East European immigrants. In the old ethnic neighborhoods, on every block you had a pub on one corner, and there would be a little saving and loan, or building and loan association, up on a second floor of a house. The men on the blocks could get together and pool their resources. They did it so that their children could buy a house in the neighborhood. It was a wonderful concept.