Business: Brinkmanship

Chrysler's banks play tough

Chrysler has endured a series of heart-stopping brushes with bankruptcy over the past year, but last week's was the most perilous and protracted. A tiny group of Chrysler's far-flung lenders in such places as North Little Rock, Ark., and Fort Wayne, Ind., threatened to upset the automaker's carefully arranged $1.5 billion federal loan guarantee package and cause the company's financial collapse. Said a top Michigan bank official in the middle of the fray: "For the first time, some of the responsible guys are talking about what they'd do in a...

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