Staff cuts continue at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

A whopping 935 staffers took an early retirement offer of six months' pay and health benefits. That's nearly double the 500 departures predicted by FDIC brass in November, and it puts the agency well on the way to its goal of eliminating 1,500 jobs.

Hundreds of employees will still face the ax next year, however, when the FDIC's moratorium on layoffs runs out.

Three high-profile departures were announced last week. Retiring this month are Stanley J. Poling, the former FDIC director of supervision who most recently bore the unwieldy title of assistant to the deputy to the chairman for finance; Alfred P. Squerrini, director of the office of personnel management; and Katherine A. Corigliano, assistant executive secretary for ethics.

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Sen. Max Baucus went to bat for the Retirement CD last month, defending the tax-deferred, annuity-like deposit account in letters to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson.

The Retirement CD got its start at Blackfeet National Bank in the Montana Democrat's home state. Sen. Baucus said the IRS was wrong to propose stripping the CD of its tax-deferred status, which froze the product last year just as it was catching on with banks.

The IRS wants to invent a new requirement "out of whole cloth, namely that to obtain tax-deferred treatment a noninsurance company annuity cannot be a deferred annuity," he wrote.

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Oversight of banking supervision and regulation has become too big a job for one Federal Reserve governor. So, the Fed split the task in two last week, giving Fed. Gov. Edward W. Kelley Jr. control of supervision and Fed. Gov. Susan M. Phillips control of regulation.

"It it an attempt on our part to smooth out the work load and to take advantage of the strengths we have," Mr. Kelley said. The Fed also collapsed its three economic oversight committees into one, giving control to Fed Gov. Janet Yellen.

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