banking

Defend yourself against a failing bank

"The good news for the taxpayer is that this costs them nothing since the FDIC is funded by charging banks premiums for deposit insurance. Now, if we run out of money, then the full faith and credit of the United States stands behind our insurance fund. Luckily, the FDIC hasn't had to go there, but if you remember back in the 1980s, the insurance fund for (savings and loan associations) actually went out of business and it cost the taxpayers $150 billion."

While insured deposits are covered 100 percent in the event a bank fails, Barr says that over the past 15 years uninsured depositors have received an average of 72 cents on the dollar for the portion of their funds that exceeded the insurance limit. There have been instances where uninsured depositors received 100 percent of their money, but others have received much less, as was the case with the Oakwood Deposit Bank in Ohio in 2002, where uninsured depositors received just 42 percent. While you may recover your uninsured deposits, it can take a long time, even years. On the other hand, insured deposits are paid very quickly, usually within 48 hours.

There are several ways to insure more than $100,000 at a single bank. Read "Are your deposits insured?" for tips on making the most of FDIC coverage.

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