Déjà Vue all over again?


It is the mid-1980’s. Savings & Loan institutions are failing at an alarming rate. So many are insolvent, in fact, that the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC), the deposit insurer of thrifts at that time, is running out of money to close insolvent thrifts. What does FSLIC do? It seeks out purchasers, who will buy, or recapitalize, a failing thrift. To entice such purchasers, FSLIC agrees to grant valuable financial inducements to the purchasers, including “forbearances” in counting bad loans against capital requirements, or allowing “goodwill” to count towards capital requirements.

The program worked well — several hundred “deals” were struck, in which insolvent institutions were taken over by purchasers who were given the many incentives. Thus, FSLIC did not have to close those institutions.

Happy ending to the story? Not by a long shot.

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