WASHINGTON - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday that it will solicit comments on deposit insurance reform ideas through a multiple-choice, Internet-based questionnaire.

The agency said that an 18-question survey will be posted by today on its Web site, www.FDIC.gov. Respondents will be asked to react to the potential changes in the system outlined in the FDIC's 84-page "options paper" released in August. The survey also will have space for written comments.

Fred Carns, associate director of the agency's division of insurance, said that though the agency welcomes comments on any aspect of the plan, it feels the survey will help narrow the focus of discussion.

At the end of each month, he said, the agency will compile the responses and post a synopsis on the site.

Though agencies routinely ask for comments on proposals, this is the first time the FDIC has solicited comments through an electronic survey. "In doing this we wanted to take advantage of the technology and cast our net as widely as possible," Mr. Carns said. "This just increases the options for how people can respond to us."

The agency said that it still plans to send the options paper to all banks and will continue to accept comments by regular mail or e-mail.

The options paper included proposals for better risk-based pricing of premiums, fundamentally altering the insurance funds, and indexing coverage limits per account to a measure such as inflation.

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