The RTC Gets Some Fuel and An Overhaul

WASHINGTON - The Resolution Trust Corp., after running on empty for weeks, now has half a tank of gas.

Congress last week pumped $25 billion into the thrift-cleanup agency. That's much less than the $80 billion requested but enough for the agency to resume selling and liquidating savings and loans.

The RTC stopped marketing thrifts in November when it ran out of the cash needed to close such deals.

The Cost of Doing Nothing

While not approving the $80 billion, lawmakers were determined to put some money in the RTC's coffers to avert the $4 million-a-day cost of putting the cleanup on hold. They pledged to provide additional funding by April 2.

The measure, approved 44 to 33 in the Senate and by a voice vote in the House, also revamped the agency's management structure.

The RTC Oversight Board and the agency's board of directors will be collapsed Feb. 1 into one seven-member panel, to be called the Thrift Depositor Protection Oversight Board.

Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady will be chairman. The other members will be Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan; Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman William Taylor; Office of Thrift Supervision Director Timothy Ryan; Albert Casey, the RTC's new chief executive; real estate developer Robert Larson, and academic Phil Jackson.

Four to Lose Seats

Current members of the oversight board not on the new panel are Jack Kemp, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and three directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.: C.C. Hope, Andrew C. Hove, and Comptroller of the Currency Robert L. Clarke.

The bill also made the post of RTC chief executive a presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation.

The House had been in session for 26 hours when it tackled the unpopular RTC bill. Weary members were loath to give the agency another cash infusion, but the need to pay off insured depositors made the bill's approval inevitable.

"This is a vote . . . nobody wants to make," said Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, D-Mo., the House majority leader. "We're not bailing out anyone other than our constituents who have their deposits in these institutions."

Members' eagerness to adjourn was evident as congressmen would shout "vote" every time a lawmaker finished speaking.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.