Barnett Bank has sued the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to recoup more than $25 million it paid to shore up the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

The Jacksonville, Fla.-based bank also argued in its Jan. 21 suit that it was overcharged for premiums on $4.2 billion in deposits during the last six months of 1996.

Legislation enacted in September required banks that hold SAIF-insured deposits to contribute to a special assessment capitalizing the thrift fund. While thrifts paid 65.7 cents per $100 of domestic deposits, Barnett and other so-called "Oakar banks" paid only 52.3 cents.

Barnett argued that it is not an Oakar institution because it did not purchase the deposits from SAIF-members. Instead, Barnett acquired the deposits this summer as part of a corporate consolidation of 29 smaller institutions previously owned by the bank's parent company, Barnett Banks Inc.

Because those institutions were members of the Bank Insurance Fund, the deposits are no longer subject to the Oakar obligations, according to the suit.

FDIC officials said they were reviewing the suit and refused to comment.

Ironically, even though Barnett argues it is not liable for the assessment, the bank was a leader in pushing Congress to lower the tab for Oakar institutions.

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