1/12/2011 12:17 PM ET|
What happens if your bank fails?
You probably know that deposits are insured, but do you know what the limits are? And what happens if you owe the bank money?
In 2010, 157 American banks failed, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Two have already been shuttered in 2011 -- and more are expected as the financial crisis continues. But the government's takeover of a failed bank has been a standard operating procedure for some time.
"History is pretty clear," says Gary Evans, the president and CEO of Palm Desert National Bank in Palm Desert, Calif. "Insured accounts are either paid out soon after a bank closes or the account is assumed by a purchasing bank. The FDIC website states that no insured account has ever lost money."
Even though the FDIC has developed a well-oiled process for taking over failed banks, the news of such a takeover can be disconcerting to the bank's customers. A failed bank doesn't mean your money is lost. But what can you expect?
Checking, savings accounts are insured
If you have a checking account or savings account at a bank that fails, your deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. If your savings account at that particular bank contains more than $250,000, the portion beyond that amount is not insured.
For customers with insured balances, expect that you may have no access or limited access to funds for a few days while the FDIC completes the takeover of the bank. "This can be disconcerting, but the FDIC keeps it to a minimum," says Kenneth Alverson, managing director at New York-based Novantas, a consulting firm to the banking industry. Often, the disruption occurs only over a weekend, with the old bank closing business Friday and the new owner taking over by Monday morning.
Checking customers will likely need to order new checks from the new institution, but usually their old checks and debit cards will continue to work for a certain period of time, usually a few months. The only other roadblock savers may experience is "if you want to close the account and move it to another bank after the event happens, it can take longer because of all the paperwork," Alverson says.
CDs are protected
If you own a certificate of deposit held at a failed bank, your account is insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC. Time-deposit CDs will still mature at the same time as your original agreement because it is a legally binding agreement, Alverson says.
Evans says CD owners need not do anything special but should certainly watch the mail for notices. "Sometimes an acquiring bank will lower the rate," he says. "If the bank is closed out, depositors will be sent a check, generally within a week."
Money market accounts vs. mutual funds
There are different types of money market accounts, and many consumers don't realize theirs may not be insured by the FDIC, says Erika Safran of Safran Wealth Advisors in New York. A standard money market account is more like a savings account and earns interest at a rate set by the bank. It usually limits the customer to a certain number of transactions within a stated time period and is insured by the FDIC up to the $250,000 limit.
However, another type of money market, called a money market mutual fund, is usually made up of investments in short-term CDs or securities, such as Treasury bills and government or corporate bonds. They are debt investments held by mutual funds rather than bank deposits, and as such are not FDIC-insured.
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This did not mention that if a the account has 2 joint owners each person is insured to $250,000 and that if there are 3 beneficiaries on the account it is insured $250,000 per owner per beneficiary. That would be $1,500,000 insured on one account. This article should have been more informative to consumers. If in doubt ask your bank manager or visit the FDIC's website and use the Deposit Insurance Calculator. That might have been beneficial in the article as well.
Is the $250,000.00 FDIC limit per account, per investment vehicle such as CD, Mutual Funds, Checking or Savings, per FDIC insured financial institution and or per single or joint account owner? Thank you in advance.
To those of you who marked my comment 'finger down' :
this is not some mad person's BS. This is a real story and I address this to people who know the subject (maybe professionals). Does anyone know what to do? Please help.
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