WASHINGTON - While key lawmakers are gearing up for another fight over the retirement CD, First National Bank of Omaha is offering its own version of the deposit instrument.
The $2.7 billion-asset Nebraska bank began marketing its Tax Deferred Annuity CD this month. The certificate of deposit combines federal deposit insurance with a tax break in a product banks hope will help them compete with annuities marketers.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato of New York and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., plan to reintroduce legislation next month that would bar federal deposit insurance coverage for retirement CDs, a Senate staffer said.
However, flak on Capitol Hill may not be the only obstacle for the Omaha bank.
The developer of the first such CD - American Deposit Corp. of Pine, Colo. - has a patent pending on its product, which the company says is strikingly similar to the Omaha bank's offering.
"This bank or any other infringing bank risks the banking equivalent of a nuclear winter," American Deposit president Rick Fasold said in a statement. His company sent First National a warning letter last week.
First National's executive vice president, Charles Walker, said, "I don't know anything about the product" developed by American Deposit. He refused to discuss the Omaha bank's new CD, or comment further on the matter.
So far, 12 banks hold ADC licenses to sell the Retirement CD. Browning, Mont.-based Blackfeet National Bank, with $12 million in assets, was the first bank to sell the tax-exempt deposit product last year.