Q: Doy you get money's worth from deposit insurance?

BILL CREWS JR. President Wauchula (Fla.) State Bank

No. We resent paying too much because we are strong and healthy. I don't have enough brass and guts to think that I would cut the umbilical cord. We are up there with 13% capital ratio; we could afford to if anybody could.

The system's got to have it [deposit insurance], but the strong banks are paying too much. Deposit insurance keeps the public confident in the safety and soundness of the banking system. Having that sign on the door used to be magic, but now we've taken in our weak sisters, the S&Ls. They are up the street paying half a point more in this town with the same FDIC sticker.

I feel like the public still wants safety.

C. KENDRIC FERGESON Chairman National Bank of Commerce Altus. Okla.

Probably not. You get some value, obviously. It is so expensive today that it is a big burden for us. It is our third-largest single expense item right after personnel and data processing.

Lots of people tell us, Congress particularly, that the reason we are overburdened with regulation and government interference is because of the federal deposit insurance. To me, that is another problem we have created for ourselves.

I keep thinking there has to be a way I can offer my customers a choice. They should be able to choose whether they should have 100% government protection, 50% government protection, or any protection. If I could offer them those choices, I could do a lot more with the money.

HUGH W. MOHLER President and chief executive Peninsula Bank Salisbury, Md.

It has such a complicated answer. I believe deposit insurance is helpful to the nation particularly as it relates to small savers and small investors.

I prefer to see the deposit insurance scaled back to $10,000 to $20,000 to protect the small investors. There is enough information and knowledge of the banking environment that larger investors can make intelligent decisions to protect themselves and their investments.

Unfortunately, over the years, weak institutions have hidden behind larger deposit ceilings and they have not had to discipline themselves to adhere to prudent financial management to their institutions; therefore, you've had thrift and bank failures.

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