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FDIC’s Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year

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Alison Vekshin
Bloomberg
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said the deposit insurance fund could dry up amid a surge in bank failures, as she responded to an industry outcry against new fees approved by the agency.

“Without these assessments, the deposit insurance fund could become insolvent this year,” Bair wrote in a March 2 letter to the industry. U.S. community banks plan to flood the FDIC with about 5,000 letters in protest of the fees, according to a trade group.

“A large number” of bank failures may occur through 2010 because of “rapidly deteriorating economic conditions,” Bair said in the letter. “Without substantial amounts of additional assessment revenue in the near future, current projections indicate that the fund balance will approach zero or even become negative.”

FDIC’s Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year  obamadecept 340x169

The FDIC last week approved a one-time “emergency” fee and other assessment increases on the industry to rebuild a fund to repay customers for deposits of as much as $250,000 when a bank fails. The fees, opposed by the industry, may generate $27 billion this year after the fund fell to $18.9 billion in the fourth quarter from $34.6 billion in the previous period, the FDIC said. The fund was drained by 25 bank failures last year.

Smaller banks are outraged over the one-time fee, which could wipe out 50 percent to 100 percent of a bank’s 2009 earnings, Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

“I’ve never seen emotions like this,” said Fine, adding that he’s received more than 1,000 e-mails and telephone messages from angry bankers.

Full article here

This article was posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 11:27 am





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