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Between 1945 and 1980, bank failures in the United States averaged fewer than five per year. Since 1980, however, U.S. commercial banks have failed at an average rate of over 100 per year, many of our largest and best known banks have encountered serious financial difficulties, and talk of a banking "crisis" has become increasingly prevalent. Politicians, pundits, and academics have come forward with many clever explanations for the crisis and proposals to cure it.
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