Bank and thrift insurance premiums - unchanged for the past two and a half years - will stay the same during the second half.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., assessment rates for both the Bank Insurance Fund and the Savings Association Insurance Fund will remain in the range of 0 to 27 basis points, as they have since the first quarter of 1996. Premium rates for SAIF have been identical with BIF rates since the first quarter of 1997.

As of Dec. 31, 95% of BIF members and 91% of SAIF members were considered "well-capitalized" and placed in supervisory subgroup A - a category of institutions that pay no premiums because they are considered a minimal threat to the insurance system.

By contrast, no thrifts and only nine banks were required to pay the highest premium rate. The FDIC will collect second-quarter insurance fund premiums today.

The FDIC expects bank and thrift failures during 1998 will cost the two insurance funds between zero and $200 million this year.

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