Who cares if a bank goes under? Won’t the FDIC protect depositors?

2 Oct

The FDIC is not funded well enough to bail out even a handful of the biggest banks in America. It has enough money to pay depositors of about three big banks. After that, it’s broke. But here is the real irony: The FDIC, as history will ultimately demonstrate, causes banks to fail. The FDIC creates destruction three ways. First, its very existence encourages banks to take lending risks that they would never otherwise contemplate, while it simultaneously removes depositors’ incentives to keep their bankers prudent. This double influence produces an unsound banking system. We have reached that point today.

Second, the FDIC imposes costly rules on banks. In July, it “implemented a new rule…requiring the 159 [largest] banks to keep records that will give quick access to customer information.” As the American Bankers Association puts it, the new rule “will impose a lot of burden on a lot of banks for no reason.” (AJC, 7/19) Third, the FDIC gets its money in the form of “premiums” from — guess whom? — healthy banks! So as weak banks go under, the FDIC can wring more money from still-solvent banks. If it begins calling in money during a systemic credit implosion, marginal banks will go under, requiring more money for the FDIC, which will have to take more money from banks, breaking more marginal banks, etc. The FDIC could continue this behavior until all banks are bust, but it will more likely give up and renege. Remember, every government program ultimately brings about the opposite of the stated goal, and the FDIC is no exception.

And now it’s “insuring” accounts to $250,000. Like it could have ever handled the 100k cap before.

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