WASHINGTON -- Arthur Andersen & Co. has agreed to pay $65 million to the Resolution Trust Corp. to settle a suit over the Big Six accounting firm's audits of four failed thrifts.

In decision announced last week, the firm agreed to settle -- without admitting or denying guilt -- with the RTC for work at the failed Benj. Franklin Savings Association and University Saving Association in Houston, at Resource Savings Association in Denison, Tex., and at Home Fed Bank in San Diego.

Andersen also agreed to settle -- without admitting or denying guilt -- a similar case brought by the Office of Thrift Supervision.

That settlement involved no monetary penalty, but required Andersen to agree to abide by stringent interpretations of the disclosure requirements in existing laws on savings and loan accounting practices.

Kenneth J. Guido, deputy chief counsel for special projects at the OTS, said the settlement should signal other accounting firms to practice more complete disclosure when they work for thrifts.

"Any other firm that reads this should be on notice to what our views are about these requirements," Mr. Guido said.

The OTS suit covered Andersen's accounting work for Benj. Franklin as wells as Lincoln Savings and Loan Association in Irvine, Calif.; American Continental Corp. in Phoenix; and Westport Co. in Connecticut, an S&L holding company.

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