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Bill Seidman: Goodbye, Old Friend

Bill Seidman
CNBC.com
Bill Seidman

Former FDIC Chairman and CNBC Chief Commentator L. William "Bill" Seidman diedWednesday in Albuquerque, N.M., after a brief illness. He was 88.

In the summer of 1990, the real estate business was in disastrous shape, and much of it was due to unsound real estate lending by savings and loan.

I had just been hired as the Real Estate Correspondent for CNBC. My first assignment? Cover the RTC auctions-and Bill Seidman.

The Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) was designed to sell off the assets of savings and loans that had failed.

They pioneered "equity partnerships" to help sell off real estate assets. Private investors acquired interests in pools of assets, but the RTC also retained interest in the pools, and as the assets were sold off, the government was repaid.

Those early auctions were confusing, exciting...and very well attended! Fact is, it worked. The government got its money back.

And Seidman was in charge of the whole operation. He was friendly, informative...and a gentlemen.

And he remained so. No matter how wild the debate got around him, Seidman was always calm, always informed, always the voice of reason. A true eminense gris.

Even those who disagreed with him had nothing but good things to say about him, because he was one of those rare figures that commanded respect.

He will be missed.

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