WASHINGTON — The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. finalized a rule Thursday requiring institutions on Dec. 30 to prepay the next three years worth of deposit insurance premiums.

The prepayment, estimated to raise $45 billion for resolutions, is intended to provide needed cash for the FDIC as failures persist, while avoiding the pain for banks that would have resulted from another special assessment.

Under the plan, banks and thrifts must provide cash upfront for premiums due in the fourth quarter as well as in all of 2010, 2011 and 2012. But institutions can report the expenses gradually, as if they were paying an assessment each quarter.

The rule allows certain institutions to apply for an exemption if they believe the prepayment will cause them undue harm. Applications will be due by Dec. 1, with the agency notifying most applicants about a decision by Dec. 15.

The prepayment rule, which was approved unanimously by the FDIC's board, was largely unchanged from a Sept. 29 proposal. However, the agency instituted some changes to make the rule less burdensome. For example, the agency moved up by 18 months the date when it will return unneeded portions of the prepayment to the industry, to June 30, 2013.

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