Since 1978, Woodbury C. "Woodie" Titcomb has presided over Peoples Savings Bank, Worcester, Mass. - a region where banks have been hit hard by asset problems. But prudent lending has enabled his thrift to survive and prosper, says Mr. Titcomb. And the numbers bear him out.

Peoples, which has paid a dividend for 27 quarters in a row, returned $1.18 on every hundred dollars of assets in 1992. Nonperforming loans at the $932 million-asset bank represented just 1.04% of its total portfolio -- and reserves are 200% of nonperformers.

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