Late last month, the House Banking Committee reached bipartisan agreement on a rescue package for the thrift insurance fund, a package that offered some sweeteners to banks.

Congressional insiders say that the deal took hold because banks finally agreed to negotiate. "The banks initiated (the deal) by signaling to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that they were willing to do a phase-in" of interest payments on the Financing Corp. bonds, said a key legislative aide.

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