L. William Seidman, the tough, blunt overseer of disaster in the banking and thrift industries, is stepping down in his own good time, with his reputation flourishing and his foes in disarray. man who took on White House chief of staff John Sununu before it was fashionable, Mr. Seidman turned one of the most difficult jobs in government into a proving ground for integrity and truthfulness.
As chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation when commercial banks were falling upon hard times and as chairman of the Resolution Trust Corporation formed to bail out the savings and loan industry, Mr. Seidman has been a key government figure during one of the most turbulent periods of U.S. financial history.
Unlike Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, he was willing to spill out the grim totals taxpayers will have to pay for the excesses of runaway, high-flying S&Ls. Unlike Mr. Sununu, he opposed, and defeated, a White House move to directly charge depositors, not banks, for insurance on their accounts. He called it the "reverse-toaster theory," a spoof on bank prizes for new customers.