FDIC: Savings' saving net
What happens if your bank fails?

2. Automatic payments/escrows -- There should be no disruption in service, but check your account to be sure. If the payment wasn't made, contact the loan officer at the acquiring bank or call the FDIC if it's running the bank or it is handling the loans. The FDIC will publish a phone number on its Web site and in news releases for these types of concerns.

3. Automatic direct deposits/withdrawals -- Automatic direct deposits and/or automatic withdrawals will be transferred automatically to your new bank.

4. CD accounts -- CDs are insured separately until the earliest maturity date after the end of the six-month grace period (see Deposits). CDs that mature during the grace period are renewed for the same term and in the same dollar amount unless you close the CD.

5. Checks -- Checks will be processed as usual. Checks that haven't cleared as of the date of the closing will be honored up to your available balance. Your new bank will contact you regarding any changes in the terms of your account. If a retailer refuses to accept your check, contact your branch office.

6. Deposits -- Most of the insured deposits are transferred in their entirety to the acquiring bank. A hold may be put on your account if you are the borrower or the guarantor of a delinquent loan. Any account pledged as collateral for a loan will be held. The FDIC will send you a letter explaining how to proceed.

Transferred accounts will be insured separately for at least six months after the merger. This is a grace period to give you time to restructure your accounts if you have an account at the acquiring bank and the combination means you exceed the insurance limit.

7. Insured deposits -- The acquiring bank traditionally takes the insured deposits. Interest-bearing deposits continue to accrue interest at the same rate until the acquiring institution notifies you of a change in interest rate.

8. Uninsured deposits -- You should never count on the acquiring institution taking uninsured deposits; however, they sometimes do. The FDIC can only transfer all deposits if the premium covers the uninsured amounts. That has happened in about 25 percent of the failures over the past 15 years. So far in 2008, more than 50 percent of the acquiring institutions have taken the uninsured deposits. But don't count on that trend to continue. Make sure your deposits are insured. Don't wait until the bank is closed to find out you're not covered.


9. Brokered deposits -- Most often these are CDs that you buy through a broker, such as Fidelity or Schwab. If the bank that's listed on the CD fails, an acquiring bank probably won't take them even though FDIC insurance may cover them fully, Barr says.

"Generally, brokered deposits are not turned over to the assuming bank," Barr says. "There are some assuming banks that have agreed to take brokered deposits. But usually we keep the brokered deposits back in the receivership and we pay those brokers directly. We have to make an insurance determination. We need to obtain documentation from the brokers on their individual clients, who they are and how much of that brokered deposit is their money.

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