Unsatisfied with new federal guarantees, California bankers have pushed through legislation protecting unsecured lenders and fiduciaries from having to pay for toxic waste cleanup under state or local law.

The new statute, effective Jan. 1, significantly expands on limited protections provided by Congress in the recently passed thrift insurance fund rescue. By enacting immunity under all state codes, observers say, California has set a precedent that other states might copy.

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