It was 10 years ago this month that the mammoth piece of legislation to address the savings and loan crisis was signed into law. Officially called the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), the 500-plus page bill authorized funding to close hundreds of insolvent thrifts, reconfigured the nation's deposit insurance system, and instituted tough new regulations for all financial institutions.

One of its most notable legacies, however, is one of its least-known provisions: creation of the Affordable Housing Program (AHP), a privately funded effort aimed at attracting investment into low-income housing development. This relatively small program has delivered a big message about the role of financial institutions in publicly supported housing developments, and how our nation will pay for these and other community- building efforts.

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