WASHINGTON -- The 50 failed thrifts operating in Resolution Trust Corp. conservatorship lost $493 million in the first quarter, the agency said.

The biggest contributing factor was a $301 million charge for the recognition of prior losses.

The first-quarter's loss, announced Friday, was $73 million bigger than that of 1991's fourth quarter. But there were 91 thrifts under RTC management then, so quarter-to-quarter comparisons are hard to make.

Signs of Improvement

Operating losses shrank by $35 million during the first quarter, to $913 million, the RTC said.

Net interest income was $12 million, compared with negative $10 million in the fourth quarter last year. Noninterest income was $61 million, versus negative $12 million.

Noninterest expense was $243 million, the net provision for losses was $172 million, and the thrifts lost $147 million on the sale of assets.

"The operating losses at these insolvent S&Ls will continue until we are provided with the funds necessary to close these institutions," RTC Chief Executive Albert V. Casey said in a statement.

The 50 thrifts had combined assets of $27.1 billion, $21.5 billion less than RTC thrifts held in the fourth quarter.

As of Friday, when the RTC took over three more institutions, there were 59 thirfts in RTC conservatorship with $31 billion in total assets.

Brokered Funds Down 76%

The RTC said brokered deposits fell 29%, or $8.1 billion, and advances from Federal Home Loan Banks plummeted 91%, or $7.3 billion.

In contrast, other borrowings, including advances from RTC, jumped 94% or $2.3 billion.

Through Friday, the RTC had spent $84 billion to close 651 thrifts. It has repaid $212 billion in deposits and sold or collected $258 billion in assets.

The RTC has had no money to spend since April 1. The administration continues to lobby Congress for another $42 billion, but prospects for passage of a funding bill this year are considered slim.

If a bill is not enacted before Congress adjourns, the RTC is likely to go almost a year without money.

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