Thursday, March 12, 2009

FDIC Preparing For Massive Bank Failures

This is the kind of thing I (and other bloggers) have noted. The MSM and rulers KNOW more than they are telling about HOW BAD the BANKS TRULY ARE.

If the FDIC suddenly had to take over a giant bank such as Citigroup or Bank of America.... agency could need more money because the existing fund "provides a thin margin of error" given the government's responsibility "to cover unforeseen losses."

And yet we are shoveled s*** on a daily basis.

"Now-needy FDIC collected little in premiums; With fund going strong, banks didn't pay for decade" by Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | March 11, 2009

WASHINGTON - The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

I'll remember that the next time some bill collector comes after me.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.

All lies, but....

Now with 25 banks having failed last year, 17 so far this year, and many more expected in the coming months, the FDIC has proposed large new premiums for banks at the very time when many can least afford to pay.

See: Small Bank Bailout of Wall Street Halved

The agency collected $3 billion in the fees last year and has proposed collecting up to $27 billion this year, prompting an outcry from some banks that say it will force them to raise consumer fees and curtail lending.

To possibly reduce the fee increase, the FDIC has asked Congress for the temporary authority to borrow as much as $500 billion from the US Treasury - up from the current $30 billion limit - in case the number of bank failures increases even more dramatically.

That is YOUR MONEY in what appears to be ANOTHER BAILOUT, folks!!!! And THEY KNOW SOMETHING! See how CRYPTIC the language is?

If Congress approves the measure, to borrow more than $100 billion, the FDIC would still need permission from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and the White House. As of Dec. 31, the FDIC had $18.9 billion in its insurance fund - down from $52.4 billion a year earlier - in addition to $22 billion that it has set aside for pending bank failures. The agency has projected it will need $65 billion to take over failed banks through 2013.

But if the FDIC suddenly had to take over a giant bank such as Citigroup or Bank of America, the fund would be drained "in a flash," said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Boston University law school's Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law.

Last week, FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair wrote to Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, that her agency could need more money because the existing fund "provides a thin margin of error" given the government's responsibility "to cover unforeseen losses." The March 5 letter, provided to the Globe, said the additional borrowing authority is necessary to "leave no doubt" that the FDIC can "fulfill the government's commitment to protect insured depositors against loss."

Bair said yesterday that the agency's failure to collect premiums from most banks "was surprising to me and of concern." As a Treasury Department official in 2001, she said, she testified on Capitol Hill about the need to impose the fees, but nothing happened. Congress did not grant the authority for the fees until 2006, just weeks before Bair took over the FDIC. She then used that authority to impose the fees over the objections of some within the banking industry.

"That is five years of very healthy good times in banking that could have been used to build up the reserve," Bair, a former professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said in an interview. "That is how we find ourselves where we are today. An important lesson going forward is we need to be building up these funds in good times so you can draw down upon them in bad times."

Hurley agreed with Bair's analysis of the FDIC's dilemma. "Typically you would build up a reserve during the halcyon days to protect yourselves during a recession," he said, calling the decision to stop collecting most premiums "a political one" that was pushed by banks and not based on strict accounting principles.

But James Chessen, chief economist of the American Bankers Association, said that it made sense at the time to stop collecting most premiums because "the fund became so large that interest income on the fund was covering the premiums for almost a decade." There were relatively few bank failures and no projection of the current economic collapse, he said.

"Obviously hindsight is 20-20," Chessen said.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank agreed that officials believed at the time that the good times would last and that bank failures would not be a problem. "We had this period where we had no failures," the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview yesterday. "The banks were saying, 'Don't charge us anything.' "

And since you guys work for the banks....

Last October, to help restore confidence during the financial meltdown, Congress and then-President Bush agreed to raise the insured amount from $100,000 to $250,000 per depositor until Dec. 31, 2009. A small portion of the new fees on banks will go toward supporting that increase.

The FDIC has never failed to make good on its promise to pay for the insured deposits when a bank fails, and officials said that will not change. The fund ran short of money during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, prompting the agency to increase fees to make up for the shortfall.

History repeats, one Bush after another!!!!

Then, a booming economy left banks flush with cash, and by 1996 the insurance fund was considered so large that it could grow through interest payments and fees charged only to banks with high credit risk. Congress agreed that premiums didn't need to be collected if the fund was sustained at a level that was considered safe. Thus, about 95 percent of banks paid no premiums from 1996 to 2006, including some new ones that did not have to pay a premium, the FDIC said.

Imagine what the INSURANCE COMPANY would say to YOU if YOU DID NOT PAY YOUR PREMIUMS, America!

Congress mandates that the insurance fund must stay between 1.15 percent and 1.5 percent of all insured deposits. The reserve ratio on Dec. 31 was 0.40 percent, down from 1.22 percent at the end of 2007. The FDIC has increased premiums to increase the reserve ratio, as well as proposing a one-time emergency assessment that could raise as much as $15 billion.