WASHINGTON - The board of directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Thursday approved the agency's proposed 2001 budget of $1.126 billion, a reduction of $60 million from last year.

The FDIC has decreased its budget every year since 1996. It attributed this year's 5.1% decline to increased operating efficiency, lower staffing levels, and less reliance on outside contractors. The agency's staff has fallen from a peak of nearly 12,000 in 1995 to 6,700 today, and is expected to decline by an additional 400 employees by the end of 2001.

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