Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, believes solutions to the deposit insurance crisis will have to come from the Bush administration.

"Lengthy partisan debate in Congress about the size of the crisis is stifling solutions," he said. "To assume the new Congress will immediately address the problem without strong leadership from the Bush administration is foolhardy."Congressman Doug Barnard, Georgia, concurs, calling on Bush to provide solutions early.

Garn and Barnard told leaders from the financial services industry, government officials and others gathered here for a conference on restructuring federal deposit insurance that early attention from the administration is critical. The two-day conference was sponsored by The Garn Institute of Finance at the University of Utah.

A major theme of the conference was how to solve the FSLIC situation and whether to tie the funding of the FSLIC deficit to the restructuring of the financial services industry.

There was general acknowledgment of the crisis, although FHLBB Chairman M. Danny Wall said, "The FSLIC is not insolvent when it has the full faith and credit of the U.S. government behind it."

FDIC Chairman L. William Seidman said if the solution includes the merger of the FDIC and the FSLIC, the thrift industry should still have a separate insurance fund. He added: "The agency should be independent of the chartering authority and have the ability to determine, in appropriate cases, what institutions should be denied insurance."

Conference participants were divided on whether there should be one deposit insurance agency or two for the banking and thrift industries.

There was consensus, however, that the deposit insurance problem in the thrift industry was extremely critical, demanding immediate attention from the new president and congress.

Utahn Richard T. Pratt, chairman of Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital, said a large part of today's problem is a result of inadequate funding for the FSLIC insurance fund and sufficient supervisory and enforcement personnel.