WASHINGTON - The Congressional Budget Office has trimmed $20 billion from its cost estimate for the savings and loan bailout, putting the price tag at $135 billion in current dollars.
"This revision reflects legislative and regulatory changes, the beneficial effect of removing failing thrifts from the marketplace, and the recent widening of interest rate spreads," the agency said.
But in testimony prepared for a House Banking Committee hearing was canceled on Wednesday, the budget office's director, Robert D. Reischauer, also warned that both the banking and thrift industries were breaking down into two sectors, one healthy and one not.
In the first three months of 1992, almost 10,600 banks holding more than half the industry's assets were well capitalized and profitable, Mr. Reischauer said.
The Other Side of the Coin
But at the other end of the spectrum are about 1,000 under-capitalized banks with 37% of aggregate assets. A quarter of those, with 10% of the industry's assets, are likely to fail within four years, he said.
Likewise, some 1,300 to 1,500 thrifts "appear reasonably healthy, profitable, and for the most part well capitalized," he said.
But another 500 to 700 are unhealthy and the financial condition of the group as a whole has "deteriorated substantially in the past three years."