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FDIC

Updated on May 3, 2024
Article byKhalid Ahmed
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) Meaning

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an autonomous federal agency of the US government and its primary role is to provide insurance coverage of up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, and per ownership category for US banks and thrift institutions.

FDIC Meaning

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The FDIC plays a vital role in preserving public confidence in the banking system, preventing bank runs, and promoting overall stability. It automatically safeguards depositors’ funds in case of a bank failure at no cost to them. It serves as an incentive for people to trust banks as a secure place to keep their money. Notably, foreign banks and brokerage firms are not covered by FDIC insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • The FDIC is an independent U.S. government agency that insures deposits up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, and ownership category, and its primary goal is to maintain confidence in the banking system.
  • It correctly identifies the types of accounts the FDIC covers, such as savings, CDs, checking, retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s), and money market accounts.
  • The information about the FDIC, NCUA (National Credit Union Administration), and SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) correctly highlights their respective roles in bank deposit insurance, safeguarding credit union deposits, and protecting investors in brokerage firm bankruptcy.

How Does FDIC Insurance Work?

FDIC insurance acts as a protective safety net for depositors in case their bank encounters financial trouble or fails. Depositors are eligible for a refund of their deposits, up to $250,000 per ownership category, from the FDIC. Any amount exceeding this limit is not recoverable through FDIC insurance. The establishment of FDIC insurance dates back to the Glass-Steagall Act or the Banking Act of 1933, emerging from the aftermath of the Great Depression to restore public trust in the banking system.

When a bank applies for FDIC coverage and pays an insurance premium, it ensures that depositors’ funds are protected. As soon as individuals open an account in a bank, they automatically receive FDIC coverage. In rare cases of a bank failure, the FDIC assumes control of the bank, its assets, and liabilities. Depositors are reimbursed, each up to the $250,000 FDIC insurance limit per ownership category. This protection extends to various accounts, including FDIC-insured CDs, providing account holders with peace of mind and fostering trust.

Checking a bank’s FDIC status is made easy through FDIC Bank Find, and the FDIC calculator helps assess coverage. The presence of the FDIC has contributed to a more stable financial environment, deterring bank failures while encouraging responsible banking practices. Consequently, the banking system has grown stronger, more resilient, and safer for depositors under the FDIC’s auspices.

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Coverage

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation safeguards the deposits of account holders in banks, providing coverage of up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, and per ownership category. This means that each account holder is protected up to this limit. However, it’s essential to note that FDIC coverage applies to specific types of accounts, including:

On the other hand, the following account types are not covered by FDIC insurance:

Examples

Let us look at a few examples to understand the topic.

Example #1

In a significant and rare move, federal regulators have taken measures to protect all deposits at Silicon Valley Bank, extending coverage beyond the typical $250,000 limit provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. This decision aims to prevent the potential collapse of the tech-focused bank from causing systemic risks to the broader US financial system.

Account holders will have access to their deposits, and taxpayers will not bear the rescue costs; instead, the banks funding the deposit insurance system will cover any losses, with the FDIC imposing a “special assessment.” Silicon Valley Bank’s shareholders and certain debtholders won’t receive federal protection, and the Federal Reserve is implementing a lending program to support impacted financial institutions and maintain stability in the banking system.

Example #2

Imagine John has a savings account at his local bank and deposited $50,000 into it. He might wonder what would happen to his money if the bank faced financial trouble or went bankrupt. This is where the FDIC, or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, comes in. They are like a financial safety net for his savings.

The FDIC ensures that John’s deposits, up to $250,000 per account per bank, are protected. So, even if his bank faced difficulties, his $50,000 would be safe and fully covered by the FDIC. This insurance provides peace of mind to depositors like John and helps maintain confidence in the banking system. While the FDIC has considered raising the insurance limit, it currently stands at $250,000 for most accounts, offering essential protection to John’s hard-earned money.

Pros And Cons

Some of the important pros and cons are the following:

Pros

  1. Protects every depositor’s money up to $250,000 per insured bank and ownership category.
  2. Automatic and free for depositors.
  3. Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
  4. Prevents the destabilization of the banking sector, which can impact the economy.
  5. Provides stability to banks.
  6. Encourages people to keep their money with banks.

Cons

  1. Insurance coverage for deposits is relatively low.
  2. Does not cover all types of accounts, such as securities, non-bank financial institutions, and money market funds.
  3. The provision may lead to moral hazard by encouraging banks to take more risks.
  4. Difficulty in covering insurance expenses in the event of a failure of a very large bank.
  5. FDIC insurance does not cover foreign bank depositors, limiting its benefits for foreign banks.
  6. Deposits beyond the FDIC limit do not receive protection coverage.
  7. Covers only individual bank failures, not systemic banking failures involving multiple banks.
  8. Obtaining coverage from FDIC can be challenging for joint accounts or accounts with beneficiaries.

FDIC vs NCUA vs SIPC

The differences are as follows:

FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)NCUA (National Credit Union Administration)SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation)
Bank depositsCredit union depositsProtects investors in brokerage firm bankruptcy
$250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, per ownership category$250,000 per depositor, per insured credit unionUp to $500,000 per account, $250,000 for cash per customer per broker-dealer
Traditional deposit accounts in US-based banksSimilar types of deposit accounts in US-based credit unionsSecurities, bonds, stocks, and other securities
Regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the FDICRegulated by the NCUA BoardRegulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Payouts to depositors and bank liquidationPayout to depositors and credit union liquidationReturn of securities and cash to investors, asset transfers to another brokerage
The scope of protection is Insolvency and bank failureInsolvency and credit union failureMisappropriation of funds and brokerage firm insolvency

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the FDIC Problem Bank List?

The FDIC Problem Bank List is a confidential list maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation that identifies financial institutions at risk of financial instability. Banks on this list are closely monitored for potential issues that could affect their stability and the safety of depositors’ funds.

2. How do I know if my bank is FDIC?

To check if your bank is FDIC-insured, visit the FDIC’s website and use their “BankFind” tool or contact your bank directly. Most banks prominently display their FDIC insurance status in their branches and websites to assure customers that their deposits are protected.

3. How many banks are FDIC-insured?

There were over 4700 banks in the United States that were FDIC-insured. It is important to note that the number of insured banks may change over time due to mergers, closures, or other factors, so verifying the current count through the FDIC’s official sources is a good idea.

This article has been a guide to FDIC and its meaning. Here, we compare it with NCUA & SIPC and explain its coverage, examples, pros and cons. You may also find some useful articles here –

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