Runaway Rumor

Continental Bank's dark day

When someone starts an ominous rumor about Chicago's Continental Illinois Bank, people generally listen. Reason: the whispered tales have often been true. Continental, the biggest banking company (assets: $41.4 billion) between San Francisco and Manhattan, has during the past two years established an unfortunate record of making loans that go sour. In 1982 it suffered a major blow from the failure of Oklahoma City's Penn Square Bank, which had sold Continental $1 billion in shaky energy loans. Currently, its beleaguered borrowers run the gamut from Argentina to International...

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