The nation's big thrifts have been saying for the last few years that all they needed was a nice rise in interest rates to let them start building their assets again after a long string of declines. (See tables beginning on page 12).

Now the time has come for them to put up or shut up. Interest rates have surged with unusual suddenness, the mortgage refinancing boom has ended, and adjustable-rate mortgages are be back in fashion.

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