WASHINGTON - To promote understanding of federal deposit insurance, the government plans to coach 5,500 bankers on the best ways to explain account coverage to customers.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is conducting 22 half-day sessions in 11 cities through August.

The seminars train bankers on educating their customers about which deposit accounts are insured and which are not; more complex account ownership categories are described in detail.

"As your customers' first source of information about FDIC insurance, you have a duty to ensure that employees ... can explain the requirements accurately," Paul Sachtleben, the FDIC's director of compliance and consumer affairs, wrote to bank chief executives.

Each session can accommodate 250 bankers, although individual banks are limited to three employees. The cost is $50.

Bankers who attend the seminars will receive a reference guide to deposit insurance and instructions to develop an in-house training program.

The guide includes details on what happens when an insured institution fails, how foreign deposits are covered, and the effect of changes in family relationships, such as death or divorce.

A multiple-choice exam bankers can give to employees to test their deposit insurance knowledge is also in the book, as well as are copies of pertinent rules.

The seminars are geared to bank trainers, as well as to savings officers and mutual fund salespeople, the FDIC said.

"It's a train-the-trainer concept," Mr. Sachtleben said in an interview.

The first series of seminars ends today in Boston. There is a July 8 deadline for registering for the second series, which starts with sessions in Memphis on July 25 and ends Aug. 10 in San Francisco.

For more information on the seminars, call 800-347-6338.

Bankers who can't attend or need extra help with deposit insurance issues can call the FDIC's toll-free deposit insurance hot line: 800-934- 3342.

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