I was appointed director of the Office of Thrift Supervision just a few weeks ago. Since that time, I have found myself confronted in meeting after meeting with the question: What is the future of the thrift industry? To be honest, I simply do not know yet. And I find that a number of the people I talk to do not yet know the answer either.

What I do know is that the nation's thrift industry is alive and well. The industry has recorded 20 consecutive profitable quarters, including record earnings of $3.7 billion in the first two quarters of 1996. Thrifts' equity capital of approximately 8% is comparable to banks' capital, and other key measures also reflect the strong performance.

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