WASHINGTON - Responding to one lawmaker's concern that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is dragging its feet on a thrift fund rescue, agency head Ricki Helfer said a plan will be handed to Congress soon.

In a July 19 letter to Rep. Marge Roukema, Ms. Helfer stressed that "these issues are as current today as they were when I testified before your subcommittee in March."

The New Jersey Republican had written a letter to Ms. Helfer saying that the FDIC's lack of a plan seemed to imply that the agency saw no need for legislation to fix the undercapitalized thrift fund.

The FDIC will soon have to cut banks' insurance premiums to about 4.5 cents per $100 dollars of domestic deposits, while, without a rescue, thrifts will continue to pay the current 23-cent rate.

Any plan must provide for the speedy recapitalization of the thrift fund, address the imminent disparity between it and the Bank Insurance Fund, and provide a way to keep the thrift fund stable - potentially using left over Resolution Trust Corp. funds - Ms. Helfer wrote.

Rep. Roukema had also posed a series of specific questions regarding future bank and thrift failures. Ms. Helfer responded that the FDIC expected $500 million in failed bank assets for the second half of 1995, and $2 billion in 1996 failures.

Ms. Helfer added that the FDIC expected failed thrift assets to total $100 million in the second half of this year and $2 billion for 1996.

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