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The world of depository institutions today is undergoing a revolution of far-reaching significance, one that is fundamentally changing the ground rules under which financial services are provided to the American population. Like many revolutions, this one is fueled by a catastrophe: the spectacular failures of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation's deposit insurance fund in the 1980s and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's (FDIC's) Bank Insurance Fund in the early 1990s. The enormous cost of these fiascoes - more than $500 billion by some measures - has brought this formerly placid and unimaginative industry under intense political scrutiny, and generated important legislation, the effects of which are only beginning to be understood.

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