Banks and savings and loan associations are failing in post-Depression record numbers because of a combination of factors—deregulation, problems in the oil industry and a few crooks. Fortunately, your deposits still seem to be safe. Your tax dollars, however, may be more at risk. Estimates of the cost of bailing out the savings and loan insurance system run as high as $100 billion.
Long lines of panicking customers wait to pull their money out of failing banks and crumbling savings and loan associations. Lawmakers in Washington heatedly debate the correct government response to the mounting crisis, while the nation contemplates the haunting specter of a collapsing financial marketplace. The scenes evoke some of the most harrowing images of the Great Depression.
Unfortunately, the time is the 1980s, a decade that has witnessed the largest bank failures in American history and a crisis in the savings and loan industry that analysts are now describing as epidemic in proportion.