|Formed||June 16, 1933|
|Jurisdiction||Federal government of the United States|
|Employees||8,713 (December 2012)|
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is one of two agencies that provide deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. depository institutions, the other being the National Credit Union Administration, which regulates and insures credit unions. The FDIC is a United States government corporation providing deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. commercial banks and savings institutions. The FDIC was created by the 1933 Banking Act, enacted during the Great Depression to restore trust in the American banking system. More than one-third of banks failed in the years before the FDIC's creation, and bank runs were common. The insurance limit was initially US$2,500 per ownership category, and this was increased several times over the years. Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2011, the FDIC insures deposits in member banks up to US$250,000 per ownership category.
The FDIC and its reserves are not funded by public funds; member banks' insurance dues are the FDIC's primary source of funding. The FDIC also has a US$100 billion line of credit with the United States Department of the Treasury.
As of the end of 2018 The FDIC also examines and supervises certain financial institutions for safety and soundness, performs certain consumer-protection functions, and manages receiverships of failed banks., the FDIC provided deposit insurance at 5,406 institutions.
Each ownership category of a depositor's money is insured separately up to the insurance limit, and separately at each bank. Thus a depositor with $250,000 in each of three ownership categories at each of two banks would have six different insurance limits of $250,000, for total insurance coverage of 6 × $250,000 = $1,500,000. The distinct ownership categories are
All amounts that a particular depositor has in accounts in any particular ownership category at a particular bank are added together and are insured up to $250,000.
For joint accounts, each co-owner is assumed (unless the account specifically states otherwise) to own the same fraction of the account as does each other co-owner (even though each co-owner may be eligible to withdraw all funds from the account). Thus if three people jointly own a $750,000 account, the entire account balance is insured because each depositor's $250,000 share of the account is insured.
The owner of a revocable trust account is generally insured up to $250,000 for each unique beneficiary (subject to special rules if there are more than five of them). Thus if there is a single owner of an account that is specified as in trust for (payable on death to, etc.) three different beneficiaries, the funds in the account are insured up to $750,000.
The Board of Directors of the FDIC is the governing body of the FDIC. The board is composed of five members, three appointed by the president of the United States with the consent of the United States Senate and two ex officio members. The three appointed members each serve six-year terms. No more than three members of the board may be of the same political affiliation. The president, with the consent of the Senate, also designates one of the appointed members as chairman of the board, to serve a five-year term, and one of the appointed members as vice chairman of the board. The two ex officio members are the Comptroller of the Currency and the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
As of March 2019, the members of the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation were:
During the Panics of 1893 and 1907, many banks[note 1] filed bankruptcy due to bank runs caused by contagion. Both of the panics renewed discussion on deposit insurance. In 1893, William Jennings Bryan presented a bill to Congress proposing a national deposit insurance fund. No action was taken, as the legislature paid more attention to the agricultural depression at the time.
After 1907, eight states established deposit insurance funds. Due to the lax regulation of banks and the widespread inability of banks to branch, small, local unit banks--often with poor financial health--grew in numbers, especially in the western and southern states. In 1921, there were about 31,000 banks in the US. The Federal Reserve Act initially included a provision for nationwide deposit insurance, but it was removed from the bill by the House of Representatives. From 1893 to the FDIC's creation in 1933, 150 bills were submitted in Congress proposing deposit insurance.
During the Great Depression there was widespread panic again over the American banking system due to fears over the strength of many banks; more than one-third of all U.S. banks were closed by bank runs. Bank runs, sudden demands by large numbers of customers to withdraw all their funds at almost the same time, brought down many bank companies as depositors attempted to withdraw more money than the bank had available as cash. Small banks in rural areas were especially affected. Written and publicly announced reassurances and tightened regulations by the government failed to assuage depositors' fears.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself was dubious about insuring bank deposits, saying, "We do not wish to make the United States Government liable for the mistakes and errors of individual banks, and put a premium on unsound banking in the future." But public support was overwhelmingly in favor, and the number of bank failures dropped to near zero. On 16 June 1933, Roosevelt signed the 1933 Banking Act into law, creating the FDIC. The initial plan set by Congress in 1934 was to insure deposits up to $2,500 ($46,822 today) adopting of a more generous, long-term plan after six months.[note 2] However, the latter plan was abandoned for an increase of the insurance limit to $5,000 ($93,644 today).
The 1933 Banking Act:
The per-depositor insurance limit has increased over time to accommodate inflation.
Congress approved a temporary increase in the deposit insurance limit from $100,000 to $250,000, which was effective from October 3, 2008, through December 31, 2010. On May 20, 2009, the temporary increase was extended through December 31, 2013. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L.111-203), which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, made the $250,000 insurance limit permanent. In addition, the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005 (P.L.109-171) allows for the boards of the FDIC and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to consider inflation and other factors every five years beginning in 2010 and, if warranted, to adjust the amounts under a specified formula.
FDIC-insured institutions are permitted to display a sign stating the terms of its insurance -- that is, the per-depositor limit and the guarantee of the United States government. The FDIC describes this sign as a symbol of confidence for depositors. As part of a 1987 legislative enactment, Congress passed a measure stating "it is the sense of the Congress that it should reaffirm that deposits up to the statutorily prescribed amount in federally insured depository institutions are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States."
Federal deposit insurance received its first large-scale test since the Great Depression in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the savings and loan crisis (which also affected commercial banks and savings banks).
The Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC) had been created to insure deposits held by savings and loan institutions ("S&Ls", or "thrifts"). Because of a confluence of events, much of the S&L industry was insolvent, and many large banks were in trouble as well. FSLIC's reserves were insufficient to pay off the depositors of all of the failing thrifts, and fell into insolvency. FSLIC was abolished in August 1989 and replaced by the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC). On December 31, 1995, the RTC was merged into the FDIC, and the FDIC became responsible for resolving failed thrifts. Supervision of thrifts became the responsibility of a new agency, the Office of Thrift Supervision (credit unions remained insured by the National Credit Union Administration). The primary legislative responses to the crisis were the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA). Federally chartered thrifts are now regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and state-chartered thrifts by the FDIC.
Final combined total for all direct and indirect losses of FSLIC and RTC resolutions was an estimated $152.9 billion. Of this total amount, U.S. taxpayer losses amounted to approximately $123.8 billion (81% of the total costs.)
No taxpayer money was used to resolve FDIC-insured institutions.
In 2008, twenty-five U.S. banks became insolvent and were closed by their respective chartering authorities. The largest bank failure in terms of dollar value occurred on September 26, 2008, when Washington Mutual, with $307 billion in assets, experienced a 10-day bank run on its deposits. Washington Mutual's collapse prompted a run on Wachovia, another large and troubled bank, as depositors drew their accounts below the $100,000 insurance limit. To avoid a panic and a drain on its insurance fund, the FDIC used exceptional authority to arrange a noncompetitive acquisition of Wachovia. It then established the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP), which guaranteed deposits and unsecured debt instruments used for day-to-day payments. Congress temporarily raised the insurance limit to $250,000 to promote depositor confidence.
On August 21, 2009, Guaranty Bank, in Texas, became insolvent and was taken over by BBVA Compass, the U.S. division of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, the second-largest bank in Spain. This was the first foreign company to buy a failed bank during the financial crisis. In addition, the FDIC agreed to share losses with BBVA on about $11 billion of Guaranty Bank's loans and other assets. This transaction alone cost the FDIC Deposit Insurance Fund $3 billion.
At the end of the year, a total of 140 banks had become insolvent. Although most of the failures were resolved through merger or acquisition, the FDIC's insurance fund was exhausted by late 2009. To continue meeting its obligations, it demanded three years of advance premiums from its members and operated the fund with a negative net balance.
In 2010, a new division within the FDIC, the Office of Complex Financial Institutions, was created to focus on the expanded responsibilities of the FDIC by the Dodd-Frank Act for the assessment of risk in the largest, systemically important financial institutions, or SIFIs.
A total of 157 banks with approximately $92 billion in total assets failed. The Deposit Insurance Fund returned to a positive net balance near the start of 2011. The Dodd-Frank Act required the FDIC to increase it to 1.35% of total insured deposits, a goal that was reached in 2018. That year also saw no bank failures for the first time since the crisis.
Between 1989 and 2006, there were two separate FDIC funds - the Bank Insurance Fund (BIF), and the Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF). The latter was established after the savings and loans crisis of the 1980s. The existence of two separate funds for the same purpose led to banks' attempting to shift from one fund to another, depending on the benefits each could provide. In the 1990s, SAIF premiums were, at one point, five times higher than BIF premiums; several banks attempted to qualify for the BIF, with some merging with institutions qualified for the BIF to avoid the higher premiums of the SAIF. This drove up the BIF premiums as well, resulting in a situation where both funds were charging higher premiums than necessary.
Then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan was a critic of the system, saying, "We are, in effect, attempting to use government to enforce two different prices for the same item – namely, government-mandated deposit insurance. Such price differences only create efforts by market participants to arbitrage the difference." Greenspan proposed "to end this game and merge SAIF and BIF". In February 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Federal Deposit Insurance Reform Act of 2005 (FDIRA). The FDIRA contains technical and conforming changes to implement deposit insurance reform, as well as a number of study and survey requirements. Among the highlights of this law was merging the Bank Insurance Fund and Savings Association Insurance Fund into a single fund, the Deposit Insurance Fund. This change was made effective March 31, 2006.
The FDIC maintains the insurance fund by assessing a premium on member institutions. The amount each institution is assessed is based both on the balance of insured deposits as well as on the degree of risk the institution poses to the fund. When the FDIC assumes control of a failed institution, it uses the insurance fund to pay depositors their insured balances. This results in a loss to the fund that must be replenished from the assets of the failed bank or from member bank premiums. In the event that the FDIC exhausts the insurance fund and cannot meet obligations with advances from member banks, it has a statutory $100 billion line of credit from the federal Treasury.
To receive this benefit, member banks must follow certain liquidity and reserve requirements. Banks are classified in five groups according to their risk-based capital ratio:
When a bank becomes undercapitalized, the institution's primary regulator issues a warning to the bank. When the number drops below 6%, the primary regulator can change management and force the bank to take other corrective action. When the bank becomes critically undercapitalized the chartering authority closes the institution and appoints the FDIC as receiver of the bank.
At Q4 2010 884 banks had very low capital cushions against risk and were on the FDIC's "problem list".
Upon a determination that a bank is insolvent, its chartering authority--either a state banking department or the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency--closes it and appoints the FDIC as receiver. In its role as a receiver the FDIC is tasked with protecting the depositors and maximizing the recoveries for the creditors of the failed institution. The FDIC as receiver is functionally and legally separate from the FDIC acting in its corporate role as deposit insurer. Courts have long recognized these dual and separate capacities as having distinct rights, duties and obligations.
The goals of receivership are to market the assets of a failed institution, liquidate them, and distribute the proceeds to the institution's creditors. The FDIC as receiver succeeds to the rights, powers, and privileges of the institution and its stockholders, officers, and directors. It may collect all obligations and money due to the institution, preserve or liquidate its assets and property, and perform any other function of the institution consistent with its appointment. It also has the power to merge a failed institution with another insured depository institution and to transfer its assets and liabilities without the consent or approval of any other agency, court, or party with contractual rights. It may form a new institution, such as a bridge bank, to take over the assets and liabilities of the failed institution, or it may sell or pledge the assets of the failed institution to the FDIC in its corporate capacity.
The two most common ways for the FDIC to resolve a closed institution and fulfill its role as a receiver are:
In 1991, to comply with legislation, the FDIC amended its failure resolution procedures to decrease the costs to the deposit insurance funds. The procedures require the FDIC to choose the resolution alternative that is least costly to the deposit insurance fund of all possible methods for resolving the failed institution. Bids are submitted to the FDIC where they are reviewed and the least cost determination is made.
To assist the FDIC in resolving an insolvent bank, the FDIC requires plans including the required submission of a resolution plan by covered institutions requirement under the Dodd Frank Act. In addition to the Bank Holding Company ("BHC") resolution plans required under the Dodd Frank Act under Section 165(d), the FDIC requires a separate Covered Insured Depository Institution ("CIDI") resolution plan for US insured depositories with assets of $50 billion or more. Most of the largest, most complex BHCs are subject to both rules, requiring them to file a 165(d) resolution plan for the BHC that includes the BHC's core businesses and its most significant subsidiaries (i.e., "material entities"), as well as one or more CIDI plans depending on the number of US bank subsidiaries of the BHC that meet the $50 billion asset threshold.
On December 17, the FDIC issued guidance for the 2015 resolution plans of CIDIs of large bank holding companies (BHCs). The guidance provides clarity on the assumptions that are to be made in the CIDI resolution plans and what must be addressed and analyzed in the 2015 CIDI resolution plans including:
FDIC deposit insurance covers deposit accounts, which, by the FDIC definition, include:
Accounts at different banks are insured separately. All branches of a bank are considered to form a single bank. Also, an Internet bank that is part of a brick and mortar bank is not considered to be a separate bank, even if the name differs. Non-US citizens are also covered by FDIC insurance as long as their deposits are in a domestic office of an FDIC-insured bank.
The FDIC publishes a guide entitled "Your Insured Deposits", which sets forth the general characteristics of FDIC deposit insurance, and addresses common questions asked by bank customers about deposit insurance.
Only the above types of accounts are insured. Some types of uninsured products, even if purchased through a covered financial institution, are: