Candid, unbiased and unemotional perspectives on highly controversial issues often get lost or ignored in the shouting by people with opposing points of view. That would be unfortunate if it happens in the case of the growing debate over tighter bank lending practices being enforced by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. As it is, the debate needs a leavening element to raise it to a rational level.

There are at least two minority views on the subject that deserve to be heard along with the rising chorus calling for Comptroller Robert L. Clarke to loosen the reins on real estate lending in the Washington area. One of those views, interestingly enough, is held by a member of the banking fraternity who says he supports Clarke's decision to enforce tighter real estate lending standards.

"While I do agree with some of my fellow bankers when they say the curtain came down rather abruptly, it is difficult to find fault with the standards" established by Clarke's office, said William C. Harris, Washington region president of Crestar Bank. Harris made the comment in an article that he wrote for the Board of Trade News, the monthly newsletter of the area's leading business advocacy organization.

Arnold Danielson, a respected banking consultant in Rockville, goes even further in applauding the comptroller's action. This tougher attitude, Danielson said in his latest regional banking report, "will cause a few bad headlines in 1990 -- and may be grossly unfair to a few institutions -- but it also should create a much more favorable banking environment in the subsequent years."

The banking industry in the Middle Atlantic region is relatively healthy, according to Danielson, who maintains that regulatory concern "has all but eliminated the possibility of a widespread real estate recession of the severity of what has occurred in the farm states, the Southwest and New England."

Danielson's conclusion, ruling out a real estate recession, is critical to the debate on regulatory restraint because it comes at a time when the commercial real estate industry in metropolitan Washington is struggling with a glut of office space. His assessment of the banking and real estate industries in the Middle Atlantic region is encouraging, to say the least.

Nonetheless, Danielson's endorsement of the comptroller's actions cuts across the grain of what seems to be conventional wisdom among Washington-area business and political leaders.

Indeed, yet another highly orchestrated plea is being made to the comptroller to relax enforcement of regulations governing loans by banks in the Washington area. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, in a move that appears to be influenced more by politics than economic considerations, yesterday approved a resolution urging the comptroller to make an exception to national standards in the Washington area.

COG would have the comptroller's office "evaluate" the region's economy and the loan portfolios of banks in the region. It probably never occurred to anyone at COG that that is precisely what happened -- and that's why the comptroller's office is insisting that area banks enforce tougher loan standards.

Like the Greater Washington Board of Trade, which recently appealed to President Bush after failing in an attempt to arrange a meeting with Clarke, COG is asking that regulators look at metropolitan Washington in the context of its strong economy.

Both business and government leaders hope to convince federal regulators that aggressive enforcement of lending standards could weaken the area's economy, creating a ripple effect that would be felt beyond the real estate sector.

The president of the Washington Area Bankers Association put an even gloomier face on matters by warning in the Board of Trade News that metropolitan Washington "is not immune to the credit squeeze that is rippling out from the Northeast." Robert P. Pincus, who is also president of Sovran Bank/D.C. National, went even further in his worst-case scenario: "Locally, buyers and investors are nonexistent because credit is simply not available."

"We're still making loans but we're asking more questions," said Crestar's Harris. "From what I've seen, small businesses are not affected that much," he added, disputing the assertion that a ripple effect could hurt small businesses in the area. "We are getting just as many requests {for loans} and we're approving just as many as we did in the past. I can tell you, however, that we're asking more questions."

Unlike some of his colleagues at the Board of Trade, which he will head as president next year, Harris refuses to blame anyone or any group for the area's overbuilt office market or for the tighter lending standards. "Developers here made a hell of a lot of money in the last eight years. Banks are at fault. We made a lot of money at attractive terms. We let it happen," he said, referring to the oversupply of office space that has left the area with a vacancy rate of more than 14 percent.

Danielson's view of the banking industry during the boom years in which commercial construction soared tends to support Harris's assessment. "In essence, we had an entire banking industry spinning out of control, and regulators either failing to understand the severity of the problems or unwilling to deal with them," Danielson said.

Harris agreed. "It just got out of control. Banks sort of looked at the reputations and net worth" of real estate developers, "but we're looking at real estate loans differently now," he says.

"I still believe there is money to lend. This is the strongest economy in the world," Harris added, cautioning against what he calls gloom and doom.

Harris is surely not alone in singing the praises of the local economy and preaching against gloom and doom. But, for now, his is a lonely voice in declaring that regulators, concerned about a "meltdown in real estate" made the right decision. The alternative, he reminded, was "to do nothing about the problem and at some point {watch} it burst."