May 27, 2009
As the FDIC has had to step in to take over more and more insolvent banks, the fund has dwindled to dangerously low levels. At the same time, the number of problem banks continues to grow at a rapid pace.
[efoods]At the end of the first quarter there were 305 ‘problem institutions’ with a total of $220.0 billion in assets, up from 252 institutions and $159.4 billion in assets at the end of 2008. At the end of the quarter, the Deposit insurance fund was at just $13.0 billion, or 0.27% of insured deposits, a decline of 24.7% in the quarter alone.
The first graph (from http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/) shows the steep drop in the coverage ratio. Just a year ago, the fund was equal to 1.01% of covered deposits. The current level is its lowest since the first quarter of 1993, when we were digging out from the S&L fiasco.
However, don’t worry about losing the money in your checking account if your bank goes under. Congress has already approved a $500 billion line of credit to the FDIC. Without a doubt, that line of credit is going to have to be tapped. This does emphasize the insanity of having the FDIC provide the guarantees for the PPIP [Public-Private Investment Program]. The fund simply does not have the resources available to do it. The money for the inevitable large losses that the fund will take on the program will come from that line of credit.