BANKING: The Biggest Rescue

Brash, bright and bent on getting ahead, Donald H. Parsons gave up practicing law and went into banking when he was scarcely 30 years old. In the 1960s, with astonishing speed, he put together a financial empire with $3 billion in assets that centered on a string of 19 banks, most of them in Michigan. But the Parsons Group foundered during the 1970 recession. Parsons was all but wiped out and forced out of banking. Even under new management, the flagship of his operation, Detroit's Bank of the Commonwealth (B.O.C.), continued to sink into deeper trouble. Last week the...

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