WASHINGTON Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, is poised to introduce deposit insurance reform legislation as early as today.
The Deposit Insurance Stabilization Act would merge the Bank Insurance Fund and the Savings Association Insurance Fund, allow the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to charge a special assessment on fast-growing institutions, and provide more flexibility when the ratio of federal reserves to insured deposits falls below the statutory minimum of 1.25%.
Robert R. Davis, director of regulatory affairs with Americas Community Bankers, said the bill is confined to items that could pass quickly and is not meant to tackle all the issues in the reform debate.
The other items are important, and we should come back to them later, but these are the things we think should be done right now, said Mr. Davis, whose group is backing the bill. We are facing the distinct possibility of a shortfall on BIF reserves, and we think the larger debate is going to take time. We feel we cant wait to resolve all the issues, because of the possibility of a looming premium.
Currently, almost 95% of institutions pay nothing in deposit insurance premiums, but the FDIC must charge 23 cents for every $100 of insured deposits if the funds fall below 1.25% and are not recapitalized within a year. Rep. Neys bill would let the FDIC charge a lower amount if it were to determine that 23 basis points was too high.
A spokesman for Rep. Ney said he expected the bill to be introduced today or Monday.
Mr. Davis said Americas Community Bankers is lobbying senators to introduce a companion bill.
The bill would not tackle one of the thornier questions concerning reform whether to double the deposit insurance coverage level per account to $200,000. The group Independent Community Bankers of America has pushed legislation in the House and Senate that would double coverage.
The FDIC is expected to make its formal recommendations on reform to Congress April 5.