As historians look back on the United States in the late 20th century, they are bound to highlight the failures in the thrift industry and the subsequent government bailout, just as financial historians have stressed the panics of the 1800s and the stock market collapse of 1929.

We have recently lived through quite a time! Bank runs recurred despite federal insurance, solid institutions with histories of over a century have been wiped out, and hundreds of thousands of people who counted on their financial institutions for jobs, for credit, or for safe-keeping of their wealth have been severely hurt.

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