WASHINGTON -- Deposits in foreign offices rose $81 billion, or 25%, over the year ended Sept. 30, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said last week.

Meanwhile, deposits in domestic offices increased $16.3 billion, less than 1%, over the same period.

The FDIC's third-quarter report shows foreign office deposits at $403 billion, up from $323 billion at Sept. 30, 1993. That puts the foreign share of total deposits at 14.5%, up from 11% at the beginning of the year.

Asked if the surge in foreign deposits represents bank efforts to avoid paying deposit insurance premiums, FDIC Chairman Ricki R. Tigert demurred. The rise in foreign office deposits is caused by other factors such as increased loan demand outside the country, she said.

On the domestic deposit side, the FDIC said rising interest rates led to an increase in time deposits in the third quarter. Certificates of deposit and other time deposits grew $20.2 billion in the quarter, while savings deposits fell $15.7 billion and demand deposits dropped $3.1 billion.

Two-thirds of the growth in time deposits was in accounts below $100,000, the FDIC said.

The FDIC said the banking industry was whittled to 10,592 institutions in the third quarter, as 131 banks were acquired and seven banks failed. Thirteen new banks were chartered in the quarter, for a net loss of 125.

In the quarter, the FDIC's list of problem banks continued to shrink, falling to 293 institutions with $36 billion in assets. That's down from 496 banks with $281 billion in assets a year ago.

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