A default on Financing Corp. bonds could occur this year if deposits flee the Savings Association Insurance Fund too fast, according to the chairman of the Fico Directorate.

Banking regulators have predicted default payments could occur as early as 1997. But the Fico official, Dean M. Schultz, said Tuesday that default could come sooner if thrift fund deposit levels drop more quickly than regulators predict.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Ricki Helfer warned in January that thrifts are beginning to shift deposits from their fund to the Bank Insurance Fund to escape higher premium costs. Currently, thrifts pay 23 cents per $100 in insured deposits while banks pay essentially zero. A plan to recapitalize the thrift insurance fund and spread the $790 million annual Fico interest obligation to banks has stalled in Congress.

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