WASHINGTON -- Financial institutions are failing at a record pace.

Record snail's pace, that is.

It's been a decade since the number of failed banks and thrifts totaled just four for the year, into early June. To date this year, four banks with $232 million in assets have failed, while no thrifts have been shuttered.

In all of 1993, 42 banks with $3.8 billion in assets failed. The thrift industry lost eight last year, with $6 billion in assets.

California has been home to half the 1994 bank failures; Massachusetts and Missouri claim one casualty each.

The biggest bank to fail is Mechanics National Bank, Paramount, Calif., with assets of $166 million. This April 1 failure also carried the heftiest price tag, costing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. $123.4 million.

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