For California Trade Group, A Thrift Industry Optimist

LOS ANGELES -- Jay Janis, recently appointed president of the California League of Savings Institutions, insists that thrifts won't fade into oblivion.

"This industry will thrive again," he says.

Despite his optimism, Mr. Janis acknowledges that the industry may "have a different charter or regulatory configuration."

|We Are Down to the Good Guys'

He says he does not expect much more shrinkage, except for the takeover of already weakened thrifts by the Resolution Trust Corp.

"What is left is the healthy, profitable thrifts," Mr. Janis says. "We are down to the good guys."

Mr. Janis, 59, has had a close-up view of the strains on thrifts. Having spent 16 years in Washington, he has broad experience in both government and private-sector financial institutions.

That career was topped off by a two-year stint as the thrift industry's chief regulator -- chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board -- in 1979 and 1980.

He left that post to become president of California Federal Savings and Loan Association, Los Angeles. In 1983, after two years at CalFed, he opened a consulting firm working with troubled thrifts.

Mr. Janis was briefly chairman of Gibraltar Savings, a big Los Angeles thrift that was eventually seized by regulators. At the request of regulators, he became chairman of two thrifts -- Flagship Federal Savings and Loan Association, San Diego, and Centennial Savings and Loan Association, Santa Rosa, Calif. -- under a management-consignment program. The program, which put new management teams in troubled thrifts trying to avert seizure, had a brief life in the mid-1980s.

Before his stint as a top regulator, Mr. Janis was under secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He started his career as a home builder in Florida.

The California league is the largest state trade association for thrifts, with 137 institutions and $325 billion in assets, or about one-third of the industry's footings.

Mr. Janis, who was West Coast representative of the U.S. League of Savings Institutions, replaces W. Dean Cannon Jr., effective Dec. 31. Mr. Cannon, the state league's longtime president, is retiring.

The U.S. league has not decided whether to replace Mr. Janis.

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