Two years ago I resigned my position as a director of a failing $500 million-asset New England mutual thrift. Within 30 days regulatory proceedings began in earnest against the institution; within 60 days the thrift was, without assistance, sold; and within 90 days the chief executive officer of two decades resigned.

The regional director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. sent me a letter accepting my resignation and complimented me on my tenure - a rarity in regulatory etiquette and policy. Until the call accepting my resignation and announcing the letter, I had never talked to a regulator outside the boardroom.

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