Now the Feds want to loan money from the banks
American officials have proposed a $45 billion plan – financed by the industry – to rescue the insurance fund that protects bank depositors. This fund has been hit so hard by bank failures, it would be in the red this week. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) plan would have the industry lend money to the insurance fund by ordering banks to prepay annual assessments otherwise due through 2012. If adopted, this would be the agency’s third restoration plan for the fund within a year, raising $45 billion from the banks to replenish the deposit insurance fund and soaking up the industry’s earnings for this year (in the first half of the year the banking industry reported $1.8 billion in income). Officials emphasized that the plight of the fund would have no impact on insurance for bank deposits. Accounts are protected up to $250 000, but with nearly 100 bank failures so far this year, the fund has faced its greatest crisis since the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s and ’90s. Officials said that as of this week, the fund, which started 2009 with more than $30 billion and still had about $10 billion through summer '09, would have a negative net worth shortly, and, if nothing was done, the fund would be holding almost exclusively hard-to-sell real estate and other unmarketable assets by early next year.