The savings and loan industry has been the primary source of home mortgages for American families since 1932. Since 1984, however, 25 percent of the savings and loans, approximately 700 out of 2800, have failed. Although the total costs associated with these failed savings and loans have yet to be determined, estimates range from $300 billion to $1 trillion. This paper discusses a system dynamics model of the effects of interest rate risk and default risk focusing on the savings and loan industry. Using the model to test the effects of policy initiatives specific to the prime interest rate and the default risk on loans, the authors demonstrate that the savings and loan crisis might have been lessened or even avoided if the regulators had a better understanding of the system’s structure and the effect of that structure on system behavior.