US FDIC to meet Nov. 12 to finalize bank fee plan

November 6, 2009

WASHINGTON, Nov 6 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators will meet Nov. 12 to finalize their proposal to have banks prepay three years of industry assessments, which would give the government cash to handle the rising tide of bank failures.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which posted the meeting agenda on its website on Friday, has proposed collecting a lump sum of about $45 billion as an alternative to levying another hefty emergency fee on the industry.

The industry has generally spoken favorably of the approach because banks would pay the cash upfront but not have to book the expense until the assessments come regularly due over the three years.

Likewise, the FDIC would not be able to use the money to bring up the balance of the insurance fund that safeguards bank deposits, but it would have operating liquidity.

The fund’s balance went negative as of the end of the third quarter due to the highest annual level of bank failures since 1992.

So far this year 115 banks have been closed by regulators as the industry struggles with deteriorating loans. That compares with 25 last year and only three in 2007.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has said the pace of bank failures will remain elevated through next year. The agency has estimated the total cost of failures will reach $100 billion from 2009 through 2013.

(Reporting by Karey Wutkowski, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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