WASHINGTON – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has received five deposit insurance applications so far this year – an indication that the agency's open-for-business message is being heard by the industry.

"Interest is up," Doreen Eberley, the FDIC's director of risk management supervision, said at a meeting of its advisory committee on community banking on Thursday. "We're starting to see some activity" in the de novo application process.

In addition, she said, regional offices of the FDIC have engaged in a number of pre-filing meetings with interested institutions.

Since the start of the year, five banks have officially applied for deposit insurance with the FDIC. This includes two banks from California, one from Oklahoma and one from Tennessee.

And just last week, a financial institution from Georgia – a state that saw a high number of bank closures in the aftermath of the crisis – also submitted a de novo application with the FDIC.

This could indicate the industry is showing more confidence in the FDIC's willingness to approve new institutions.

Since 2012, there have been only four new banks approved, and three opened. In contrast, at its peak in the pre-crisis years, the agency had approved 203 new banks in 2005.

But in recent months, the FDIC has indicated it is ready to accept new applications. In April, the agency set back the period of intensified regulatory oversight for newly chartered banks from seven to the pre-crisis length of three years.

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