Gold Among the Ruins

Investors hunt for bargains among failed savings associations

Most investors make money by avoiding financial disasters. But a growing number of savvy business executives have begun seeking fortunes in the ruins of the savings and loan industry's insolvent institutions. Since 1984 investors have bought 260 failed S and Ls, most of them in the West and Southwest, where thousands of loans to the depressed real estate and oil industries have gone bad. Last week Robert Bass, 40, one of Fort Worth's billionaire Bass brothers and an accomplished takeover artist in his own right, joined the trend. He led a group that agreed to put up $550 million in capital...

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