WASHINGTON A Gallup Organization poll released Thursday said that most consumers would like the deposit insurance ceiling to keep pace with inflation but are split on whether the current $100,000 limit should be significantly increased at the outset.
The survey found that, if the limit were increased, 23% would be very likely to shift more money into insured deposits and an additional 36% would be somewhat likely to increase their deposits.
Whether to raise the ceiling is the most prominent sticking point in the deposit insurance reform debate. Some banking groups have advocated doubling coverage, to $200,000 per account, to make up for years of inflation. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has recommended indexing coverage to inflation but has taken no position on whether this should be done retroactively.
The Gallup survey found that 77% of respondents thought the coverage limit should keep pace with inflation and nearly half thought the limit should be significantly increased immediately.
Specifically, 21% said that they thought the level should be doubled, and 19% would support more than $200,000 of coverage. About 5% said the limit should be increased to $150,000, and 27% said no increase is needed right now.
The survey, done in November and December through interviews with 1,168 adults who identified themselves as knowledgeable about household finances, helped to shed light on the publics perception of deposit insurance and how it affects their investment decisions.
The release said that 57% of people considered deposit insurance very important in determining where to invest and that six in 10 respondents said they would move money to insured deposits if they were nearing retirement. About 60% of respondents said they would transfer money into insured deposits if there were a stock market crash or recession.
The survey, whose results were released by the FDIC on its Web site, cost the agency $125,000.
Industry representatives said they would use it to press the case for increased coverage as deposit insurance reform is debated on Capitol Hill.
I think it corroborates the need for increased coverage, said Karen Thomas, director of regulatory affairs at the Independent Community Bankers of America. We have been arguing all along that todays limit is not sufficient for todays savings needs, particularly as the baby boomers reach retirement and the population generally gets older.