After reading about the hideous taxpayer losses involved in the Banning-Lewis Ranch deal {front page, Nov. 14}, I believe the moral equation of the savings and loan debacle is clearer.

A large hunk of the lost money did not disappear. It is just in the wrong hands, and I'm not referring to developer Frank Aries, who seems to have retained a sumptuous lifestyle.

Most of the lost value is sitting in the bank accounts of the Mobil Land Development Corp. The fact that their hugely bloated profit on the land was made in a perfectly legal transaction does not make the deal smell any better morally.

The only reason Mobil was able to make so much profit was that the party across the table had a bottomless bucket of federally insured money.

While it's doubtful the money can be recovered through the courts, couldn't a public relations campaign be mounted to persuade Mobil and hundreds of entities like it to surrender at least a part of these unreasonable gains to the Resolution Trust Corp.?

Heresy, you say? These are extraordinary times. It is far more unfair to ask disinterested taxpayers to pony up. DAVID A. SPROUL Glen Echo

On Nov. 14 The Post reported the conviction in the August slaying of Gordon Stewart at Lorton Youth Center {Metro}. Mr. Stewart had been serving a 36-month sentence for stealing a necklace.

The Post also featured a story about Frank Aries, who borrowed millions from Western Savings to purchase the Banning-Lewis Ranch in Colorado. He put up none of his own money. The ranch land has not been developed, and the bank has been taken over by the Resolution Trust Corp.

Taxpayers may be expected to make up the bank's losses. Former Western Savings chairman Gary Driggs is not in jail, and Mr. Aries reportedly is living on a 98-foot yacht on the coast of Florida.

Mr. Aries and Mr. Driggs should be given a punishment commensurate with the magnitude of their theft. The fact that under our uneven system of justice they won't be gives me heartburn.

BARBARA DUGGAN WALLACE Chevy Chase