Ancient banking wisdom: Restaurants come and go as often as subway trains during rush hour. Financial institutions, on the other hand, are built to last.

Schlotzsky's, a chain of sandwich shops with 125 locations in Texas, has set up three outlets in what were formerly branches of Texas savings and loans, and it's preparing to open at least six more. The ex-branches, says Schlotzsky's President John Wooley, are ideal locations, placed as they are at the edge of strip malls in high-traffic areas. Most are already set up to do some form of drive-through business, be it ham and swiss or debits and credits.

Wooley says that landlords are quite happy to rent to "a business that takes in cash. The other guys collect paperwork and give away cash. There's something wrong there." Taxpayers, choking down the cost of the S&L bailout, would probably agree.

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