When Richard Diehl's hand-picked successor took the helm of H.F. Ahmanson & Co. last year, few could have predicted the massive changes in store at the country's largest thrift.

During the 26 years Mr. Diehl ran Ahmanson, the company's Home Savings of America thrift subsidiary had grown from a $2.6 billion-asset southern California lender into a $50 billion-asset national powerhouse through single-minded pursuit of plain-vanilla mortgage lending.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.