Deposit insurance seems to be a dead letter in Congress' mailbox nowadays. Ther is a proposal to merge the wobbly Savings Association Insurance Fund into the well-heeled Bank Insurance Fund, which Paul Schosberg of the Savings and Community Bankers of America writes about in this month's Final Say column. But the rationale behind deposit insurance hasn't been widely debated since 1991, when banking was in the throes of crisis and Congress passed the FDIC Improvement Act.

That time of darkness has long since passed, and the bank insurance fund, after reporting a $7 billion deficit less than three years ago, should be recapitalized by the end of 1995. Now is a good time for banks to reconsider whether deposit insurance is worth the cost--and not just in terms of their annual premium assessments. I would submit that a greater burden by far is the justification to control and manipulate, beginning with Congress and extending to the regulatory authorities, that it creates.

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