To the Editor:

Your March 24 article headlined "Lawmakers, Agencies Eye Bailout for Thrift Fund" inaccurately characterized FDIC Chairman Ricki Helfer's testimony before the House Financial Institutions Subcommittee.

The article states: "First, Ms. Helfer proposes merging the bank and thrift insurance funds and forcing banks to share the $780 million yearly Fico (Financing Corp.) tab."

The article concludes: "Finally, Ms. Helfer proposes a special assessments (sic) on thrift deposits to rebuild the Savings Association Insurance Fund, coupled with banks sharing the Fico obligation or RTC funds covering the bond payments."

Chairman Helfer made neither proposal. In fact, Chairman Helfer has made no proposal. Rather, as even a casual reading of the FDIC's written testimony would clearly show, the testimony analyzes a wide range of options that have arisen in the search for a solution to the SAIF's underfunding - from taking no action to merging the funds - without endorsing or opposing any of them. This approach was for good reason - the FDIC is in a rulemaking process on proposed deposit insurance rates. Comments are due by April 17 and should be addressed to: Office of the Executive Secretary, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 550 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20429.

The FDIC will carefully consider all comments.

Alan J. Whitney

Communications director,

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Washington

Editor's Note: The statements cited by Mr. Whitney were introduced with the following statement about Ms. Helfer: "While she did not discuss solutions, her 118-page written statement explains several fixes that meet her three criteria."

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