Merging the bank and thrift insurance funds could produce a more stable pool that would be less expensive for the industry to support.

Writing in an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency working paper, two economists find that by combining the two funds, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. could safely reduce the amount of money now kept in them by $3.5 billion. Banks could earn an additional $420 million annually by investing this excess, according to the study.

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