WASHINGTON -- Bankers may have to wait till next week to learn how the new FDIC rule on brokered deposits will affect them.

The rule, passed last week, is not yet available in final form.

"We're trying to get the word out, but we don't know what the word is yet," said Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. spokeswoman Caryl Austrian on Tuesday.

The rule is supposed to take effect on June 16.

Actual Language a Mystery

Before adopting the final rule last Wednesday, the FDIC board made so many changes to a staff proposal that no one yet knows the actual language.

Contradictory press reports and conflicting views among the agency's staff have left bankers and savings and loan executives confused.

"I'm not too sure FDIC people fully understand what was done," said James McLaughlin, director of agency relations for the American Bankers Association.

The rule permits "well-capitalized" banks - with 5% equity capital and 10% risk-adjusted capital - to use all the brokered deposits they like.

"Adequately capitalized" banks - with 4% equity capital and 8% risk-adjusted capital - need permission before using brokered funds.

Any bank that falls below this group cannot buy such funds at all.

Confusion Abounds

One source of puzzlement: Another capital rule allows risk-based capital levels to stay at 7.25% until Dec. 31; then the requirement will rise to 8%. Bank of Boston spokewoman Constance Hubbell said FDIC officials told her bank that 7.25% would qualify as "adequately capitalized" until yearend.

Confusion also surrounds the board's calculation of caps on brokered funds used by adequately capitalized banks and thrifts.

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