About FDIC

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation operating as an independent agency created by the Banking Act of 1933. It provides deposit insurance guaranteeing the safety of a depositor's accounts in member banks up to $250,000 for each deposit ownership category in each insured bank. The FDIC also examines and supervises certain financial institutions for safety and soundness, performs certain consumer-protection functions, and manages banks in receiverships (failed banks). The FDIC receives no congressional appropriations — it is funded by premiums that banks and thrift institutions pay for deposit insurance coverage and from earnings on investments in U.S. Treasury securities.

Institutions insured by the FDIC are required to place signs at their place of business stating that "deposits are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government." Since the start of FDIC insurance on January 1, 1934, no depositor has lost any insured funds as a result of a failure.

To receive this benefit, member banks must follow certain liquidity and reserve requirements. Banks are classified in five groups according to their risk-based capital ratio:

  • Well capitalized: 10% or higher
  • Adequately capitalized: 8% or higher
  • Undercapitalized: less than 8%
  • Significantly undercapitalized: less than 6%
  • Critically undercapitalized: less than 2%

When a bank becomes undercapitalized, the institution's primary regulator issues a warning to the bank. When the number drops below 6%, the primary regulator can change management and force the bank to take other corrective action. When the bank becomes critically undercapitalized the chartering authority closes the institution and appoints the FDIC as receiver of the bank.

At Q4 2010 884 banks had very low capital cushions against risk and were on the FDIC's "problem list". This was nearly 12 percent of all federally insured banks, the highest level in 18 years.

Do banks need to be FDIC Insured?

As per a podcast published by npr Most U.S. banks are required to have FDIC insurance to be chartered. States, for the most part, make them get it. For a longer answer follow this link.