Oklahoma K.O.

Big losses for a small bank

At the start of business early last week, depositors crowded into the lobby of Oklahoma City's Perm Square Bank and patiently stood in line to take out all their money. Still more customers waited outside so that they could also withdraw their funds. Penn Square was in the process of becoming the 22nd bank in the U.S. to collapse this year.

The Oklahoma bank had assets of only about $525 million, or a mere fraction of those held by large commercial lenders like New York's Citibank, which counts nearly $105 billion in assets. Yet the tremors from...

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