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Friday, September 18, 2009

FDIC's Bair: DIF May Borrow from Treasury

by Calculated Risk on 9/18/2009 10:26:00 AM

From the WSJ: FDIC Considers Borrowing From Treasury to Shore Up Deposit Insurance

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said her agency is considering borrowing from the U.S. Treasury to replenish its deposit insurance fund.

"We are carefully considering all options" including borrowing from the Treasury, Ms. Bair said Friday after a speech in Washington.
UPDATE: Bair is responding to comments by Barney Frank (see this speech at 25 mins, ht Kevin)

Here is a reference to a recent letter from Sen Levin, via Dow Jones: FDIC Should Borrow From Tsy, Not Charge Banks Fee
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. ... said in a letter to FDIC Chair Sheila Bair that he was concerned about the possibility of the agency charging banks a second special assessment this year. ... Such fees could hurt smaller banks, Levin wrote.

"Adding yet another major financial obligation during this crisis could further deplete the capital of these small financial institutions, making it difficult for them to extend the credit needed to turn our economy around," Levin said in the letter.
The Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) had $10.4 billion in assets at the end of Q2, but the total reserves were $42 billion. Note that accounting for the DIF includes reserves against estimate future losses, so that is the difference between the total reserves and the reported assets. Total reserves of the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) stood at $42 billion. From the FDIC:
Just as insured institutions reserve for loan losses, the FDIC has to provide for a contingent loss reserve for future failures. To the extent that the FDIC has already reserved for an anticipated closing, the failure of an institution does not reduce the DIF balance. The contingent loss reserve, which totaled $28.5 billion on March 31, rose to $32.0 billion as of June 30, reflecting higher actual and anticipated losses from failed institutions. Additions to the contingent loss reserve during the second quarter caused the fund balance to decline from $13.0 billion to $10.4 billion. Combined, the total reserves of the DIF equaled $42.4 billion at the end of the quarter.
Of course the FDIC cut a check to MB Financial Bank last week for approximately $4 billion as part of the Corus Bank seizure. For the Corus deal, MB Financial Bank assumed all of the deposits of Corus Bank (approximately $7 billion) and agreed to purchase approximately $3 billion of the assets (mostly cash and marketable securities). The FDIC wrote a check for the difference. The FDIC retained the remaining $4 billion in assets for later disposal, and estimated the losses would be $1.7 billion. But writing a $4 billion check was a significant hit to the cash reserves of the DIF.