26 May 2009

Reading Between the Lines: FDIC Assessment

Props to Margaret Chadbourn at Bloomberg, who sees a change in policy and recognizes its significance.

Specifically, she notes that the FDIC will be assessing an emergency assesment on banks in order to shore up their insurance fund, and she sees a real change in policy:
U.S. banks will pay an emergency fee based on their assets to rebuild the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s reserves, putting a greater burden on large banks to replenish the fund amid the fastest pace of failures since 1994.

The FDIC voted 4-1 today to impose a fee of 5 cents per $100 of assets, excluding Tier 1 capital, backing away from a proposal of 20 cents per $100 of insured deposits. Local bankers said the fee on deposits could erase more than half their 2009 earnings. The fee will rebuild the fund that started the year at $18.9 billion, the lowest since 1994’s first quarter.
(emphasis mine)

Fees have traditionally been assessed on deposits, not assets, but the problems with bank failures, particularly among the giant banks are dodgy asset problems, so it serves to hit the big banks harder, who are less well capitalized on the basis of deposits.

It adds cost to risk, and it is a significant, and I hope permanent, change.


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