BANKING

Times Staff and Wire Reports

S&L; Profits Continue to Grow: Savings and loan association profits rose 17% for the third quarter, extending their four-year recovery, the Office of Thrift Supervision said. The industry earned $1.6 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $1.4 billion for the previous three months. Jonathan Fiechter, OTS acting director, said the third quarter's solid growth was propelled by corporate restructuring and that S&Ls; are in a good position to pay a one-time $6-billion assessment into the fund that insures customers' deposits. Congress has proposed the assessment to provide capital for the fund. Fiechter said that improving economic conditions in California are a good sign because of the state's heavy concentration of thrifts. The industry's return on average assets, a key measure of economic health, hit a record high in the third quarter, and the number of troubled S&Ls; dwindled.

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