After the thrift industry had seen its net worth fall from $16.7 billion in 1972 to minus $17.5 billion by 1980, Congress in 1982 passed the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act. It allowed the thrifts to invest up to 40% of their assets in nonresidential real estate.

The hope was the the industry would be restored to health by the lush underwriting fees that could be charged to commercial borrowers and real estate developers.

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