From his offices in the Washington suburbs, Bert Ely, 52, produces Washington's most respected statistical and economic analysis of the thrift and banking industry.

He is best known for having correctly predicted the savings and loan crisis years before Congress began work on the 1989 bailout. He won further respect for debunking the "December surprise," the notion, popular in Democratic circles, that massive bank failures were being delayed until just after the 1992 presidential election.

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