Banking: Flesh & Blood

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is soberly known as the Government agency that ensures bank accounts up to $10,000—but that is only part of its job. Organized 30 years ago, when Depression-hit banks were closing at the rate of 4,000 a year, it has since liquidated the assets of several hundred failed banks, often picking up unusual properties in the process. One of the most unusual came into the agency's possession when it took over $106,000 in mortgages on a small and sleazy hotel in Houston after the First National Bank of Marlin, Texas, failed in March. What the...

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