The distressed banks of the 1980s and early ’90s gave market players a pretty good idea of what was going to happen when lenders began to take on defaulting assets. The resulting play then was a clearing- house sale of loans and assets that generated profits for well- positioned funds.

But this isn’t your father’s recession, and banks and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are now attempting to maximize value by not flooding the market. The earliest opportunity funds found themselves all dressed up with nowhere to go and, for the rest, the question remains if it is worth it, economically, to coerce banks into releasing these assets on a shorter timeline.

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