20 Cool Facts About the FDIC

1. As of June 30, 2008, the FDIC employs 4,621 employees, which is pretty low compared to the 22,459 it employed in 1992.

2. After President Roosevelt signed the Banking Act of 1933, the FDIC took effect on January 1, 1934. It provided insurance up to $2,500.

3. The FDIC celebrated its 75th anniversary this past June 16, 2008. In honor of her department, Chairwoman Sheila C. Blair traveled around the country to meet with community leaders as part of her Face Your Finances road show.

4. On July 5, 1934, Mrs. Lydia Losiger received the very first deposit insurance disbursement. It came because of the failure of Fon Du Lac Stat Bank in East Peoria, Illinois.

5. You can buy stuff from the FDIC. Under the “Asset Sales” section of the FDIC website, you can search for everything from loans, real estate, as well as other property from failed banks including furniture, fixtures and equipment.

6. Also on the website, the FDIC keeps a detailed mortuary log of all failed banks updated throughout the year. For the most recent bank failure explanations, check out this page.

7. If you want to impress your banker (and keep him on his toes) the next time you head to the bank, ask him for his institution’s Compliance Examination Composite Rating. Similar to how creditors use consumer credit scores from TransUnion or Experian to determine loan eligibility, the CEC is the FDIC’s primary rating system for banks. It works on a scale of one through five, with one as the highest and five the lowest.

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8. However, the FDIC also uses other ratings on banks across the country. Another is the CRA, or Community Reinvestment Action rating. The CRA determines a bank’s ability to deal with the credit needs of its assessment area, in particular low-income neighborhoods. Its scale reads from highest to lowest as (O) Outstanding, (S) Satisfactory, (N) Needs to Improve, and (SN) Substantial Noncompliance.

9. The GSD and MSD are the Government and Municipal Securities Dealer Examination ratings. They help determine a bank’s capability of dealing with general problems that might arise in regards a dealer’s affairs. It works on a scale of one through five like the CEC.

10. Finally, the Information Technology Examination Composite Rating (IT) does just what it sounds like-rates banks on their technical strength. Lesser known rating systems from the FDIC include the Registered Transfer Agent (RTA), Safety and Soundness/Risk Management, and Trust Examination.

11. The FDIC sends out press releases via its official website. In its latest release, the FDIC issued a letter listing all banks that have recently been examined for CRA compliance. Click here to get the list, and check to see if you’re bank made the roll.

12. Generally, whatever’s in your checking or savings account is insured by the FDIC. However, things like mutual funds, stocks, contents in a safe deposit box, and treasury securities are not covered.

13. Here’s an important thing to remember: the FDIC does not insure bank robberies or theft. Banks use instead what’s called a blanket bond, which is a multi-purpose insurance policy to protect themselves from fire, flood, earthquake, robbery, defalcation (a type of debt that cannot be discharged via bankruptcy), embezzlement, and other reasons for disappearing funds. If your bank is ever robbed it will certainly take a loss, but you won’t as long as your bank holds that insurance.

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14. If in doubt, always looks for the logo that reads “Not FDIC-Insured” on promotions, advertisements and other visual media. When discussing any kind of potential investment at your bank, you should be told whether the FDIC insures it or not by your sales/bank representative.

15. The FDIC insures accounts at banks separately. In other words, you could have two accounts in two separate banks and still be insured up to $250,000 on each of them for a total of $500,000 of insurance.

If you’re married it gets even better because you can open up separate accounts in your spouse’s name and receive double the insurance protection. This means that if a husband and wife open up a total of four accounts at two different banks under their separate names, they have a total of $1,000,000 in insurance protection from the FDIC.

16. President Roosevelt was personally opposed to any kind of insurance protection for banks because he felt that it would protect irresponsible bankers. But he backed down when he saw the overwhelming support for the FDIC among Congress, as led by Chicago banker Walter J. Cummings, Sr.

17. For a quick run-down of the latest bank failures, check out this page for the most recent. Links in list lead to lengthy explanations accompanied by press releases and a notification of what institution acquired the failed bank.

18. Sheila C. Bair is the 19th Chairman of the FDIC. She’s written two children’s books about money. They are Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock, and Isabel’s Car Wash.

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19. Times are tough now, for sure. But in 1989 the FDIC encountered the largest number of bank failures in its history-206.

20. June 2004 through February 2007 marks the longest time in FDIC history it went without encountering a single bank failure.