Maryland's savings and loan crisis had its roots in a two-year regulatory breakdown by private industry and public agencies.

The Maryland Savings-Share Insurance Corp. (MSSIC), an industry fund that was supposed to protect customer deposits, failed to keep tight control over its member S&Ls.

The state Division of Savings and Loan Associations, the government's main S&L regulator, did little to stop risky ventures by errant thrifts.

The office of Gov. Harry Hughes failed to follow up on warnings it received about problem thrifts, and the office of Attorney General Stephen Sachs limited its advisory role to minor matters. And today, more than 100,000 depositors at four S&Ls still have almost no access to their $1.2 billion in savings.

*WEDNESDAY -- The chronicle of the last days of Old Court: How state government officials and industry leaders scrambled to forestall the inevitable collapse of the giant Baltimore thrift.

*YESTERDAY -- Born out of one S&L scandal in 1960, MSSIC failed to prevent a similar calamity from happening again.

*TODAY -- The role of government regulators. The ostensible watchdogs were not alert to thrifts' "high-flying" ways and when they were, did little. Also, a look at the political effects of the crisis on Hughes' aspirations for a U.S. Senate seat.