Congress approved legislation in 1995 forcing bankers to cough up $600 million a year through 2019 for interest due on the Financing Corp., or Fico, bonds.

But you wouldn't know it by reading the upbeat year-in-review column by American Bankers Association executive vice president Donald G. Ogilvie in the Jan. 2 issue of the ABA's Bankers News.

Mr. Ogilvie lauds the industry's victory in lowering deposit insurance premiums, trumpets record-busting earnings, and heralds the move to cyberbanking.

On the political front, Mr. Ogilvie admits that "progress moves slowly in the nation's capital regardless of who is in power."

Nowhere, however, does he mention the Savings Association Insurance Fund rescue plan, which requires banks to start paying most of the $793 million a year in Fico interest now borne entirely by thrifts - and was indisputably the most important piece of banking legislation approved by Congress in 1995.

***

America's Community Bankers, gearing up for a battle in Congress over the fate of the federal thrift charter, has put together a new task force to lead the fight.

The chairman of the ACB Charter Issues Task Force will be F. Weller Meyer, president and chief executive of Acacia Federal Savings Bank in Falls Church, Va. Vice chairman will be E. Lee Beard, president and CEO of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Hazleton in Hazleton, Pa.

Thrifts want their deposit insurance fund merged with the bigger, healthier Bank Insurance Fund. In return, banks are demanding the elimination of the thrift charter.

The ACB has hired Washington attorney Thomas P. Vartanian and his law firm, Fried, Frank, Shriver & Jacobson, to help the task force with its work.

***

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. employee buyout, meant to eliminate about 500 jobs, is up to 328 and counting.

That's how many FDIC staffers took advantage of the first phase of the buyout, which required that they clear out by Dec. 31. Among the high- profile departures are Robert H. Hartheimer, the director of resolutions, and regional directors Kenneth L. Walker, James O. Leese, and Paul Wiechman.

So far, 87 people have applied for part 2 of the buyout, which lets staffers stay on longer but also allows the FDIC to reject their requests to leave. The deadline for applications is Jan. 31.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.