When the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. figured out last year that it was facing a series of big bank failures, it hired Harrision Young as director of its Division of Resolutions. And last fall, it hired Gail Patelunas, who quickly became Mr. Young's right-hand aide.

A veteran of KPMG Peat Marwick, where she worked with former Federal Reserve heavyweight Steve Roberts on bank mergers and acquisitions, Ms. Patelunas had built an excellent reputation for handling failing banks.

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