WASHINGTON - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is not yet endorsing an increase in the deposit insurance limit, Chairman Donna A. Tanoue said Wednesday.

Commenting on a report in Tuesday's American Banker that said an overhaul of deposit insurance was in the works, Ms. Tanoue emphasized that the agency, at this stage, is only raising the issue for discussion.

"I have not endorsed any specific proposal yet," Ms. Tanoue said at a conference sponsored by America's Community Bankers. "But I have endorsed and ordered the FDIC to embark on an aggressive plan to revisit all serious issues concerning deposit insurance."

In a speech delivered at the Independent Community Bankers Association convention in San Antonio Tuesday, Ms. Tanoue outlined a proposal that would increase the limit on deposit insurance coverage to $200,000 per account. She said the FDIC, which has not raised the limit in 20 years, should consider the change now, at a time when the bank and thrift insurance funds are holding record reserves.

Congress must approve any change in the deposit insurance limit. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm said Tuesday that he would not support the proposal.

House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach is keeping an open mind, his spokesman said, adding, however, that Congress is unlikely to act on the issue this year.

- Kevin Guerrero

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