The Supreme Court's decision in the goodwill case is a "victory for every individual and business that enters a contract with the federal government," wrote Glendale Federal Bank chairman Stephen J. Trafton in a letter Friday to House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach.

"The government cannot derive the benefit of its contracts and then simply walk away from its own responsibilities with impunity," he wrote.

Glendale Federal took the government to court in 1990 after Congress forced buyers of failing thrifts to erase "supervisory goodwill" from their books. Banking regulators allowed the accounting tool in order to entice buyers for troubled institutions.

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