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'Problem Banks'

May 17, 1985

The Times editorial (May 9), "The Fall of a House of Cards," does readers a real service in calling their attention to the truly "superior piece of journalism" by Mark Singer in the recent issues of the New Yorker magazine, relating to the all too-clear threat to the core of a "goodly portion of America's banking economy" in the 1980s.

Although Singer writes from his evident large background as a geophysicist, his literary talents are equally impressive--telling his amazing story with doses of humor that serve, at appropriate points, to keep the culprits of the tale from seeming merely escapees from an "Alice in Wonderland" of big (?) business behavior and principles.

As The Times commentary on the articles notes: "Lessons? They jump from every page." Indeed they do, and they are frightening--particularly when the major culprits involved included such previously "hallowed" institutions as the Chase Manhattan and Continental Illinois banks.

As a former staff member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (and as a modest depositor in today's banks), this correspondent hopes that there is some realistic basis for more confidence in his depositories than could possibly be gleaned from the assumed resurrections from the near fatal "problem banks" of the recent past.

DON PERLEY

Yorba Linda

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