Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #211

It’s beginning to accelerate.


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Federal bank insurance fund dwindling

Banks are not the only ones struggling in the growing financial crisis. The fund established to insure their deposits is also feeling the pinch, and the taxpayer may be the lender of last resort.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., whose insurance fund has slipped below the minimum target level set by Congress, could be forced to tap tax dollars through a Treasury Department loan if Washington Mutual Inc., the nation’s largest thrift, or another struggling rival fails, economists and industry analysts said Tuesday.

Treasury has already come to the rescue of several corporate victims of the housing and credit crunches. The government took over mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and helped finance the sale of investment bank Bear Stearns to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Eleven federally insured banks and thrifts have failed this year, including Pasadena, Calif.-based IndyMac Bank, by far the largest shut down by regulators.

Additional failures of large banks or savings and loans companies seem likely, and that could overwhelm the FDIC’s insurance fund, said Brian Bethune, U.S. economist at consulting firm Global Insight.

“We’ve got a … retail bank run forming in this country,” said Christopher Whalen, senior vice president and managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics.

Emphasis added by me.

Pay attention:

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has not ruled out the possibility of going to the Treasury for a short-term loan at some point. But she has said she does not expect the FDIC to take the more drastic action of using a separate $30 billion credit line with Treasury — something that has never been done.

Emphasis added by me.

I posted earlier:

Get used to hearing that phrase — I never thought I would see anything like this in my life — because you’ll be hearing it over and over again. Some of you will be saying it!

That includes the sub-category of “it has never been done before.”

Here it gets ominous:

A Washington Mutual failure would dwarf the largest bank collapse in U.S. history — Continental Illinois National Bank in 1984, with $33.6 billion in assets.

By comparison, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $309.73 billion as of June 30 and IndyMac had $32 billion when it shut down.

Emphasis added by me.

That’s a little under one-third of a trillion dollars.

Now get this:

But Whalen said the Federal Reserve, the Treasury and Congress should “immediately devise” and announce a plan to backstop the FDIC with up to $500 billion in borrowing authority to meet cash needs for closing or selling failed banks.

They’re looking for a half-trillion dollars now!

And then there is this reminder:

There were 117 banks and thrifts considered to be in trouble in the second quarter, the highest level since 2003, according to FDIC data released last month. The agency doesn’t disclose the names of institutions on its internal list of troubled banks. On average, 13 percent of banks that make the list fail.

Only 117 institutions? I’ve already posted about 300 banks possibly failing — and just this week someone forcasted one thousand.

Defend yourself: See the list of banks that are candidates for collapse.

Educate yourself.

All prior Chronicles of Depression 2.0 posts. Read them before you must.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bank Collapse Watch, C.O.A.T. - Belief, C.O.A.T. - Money, C.O.A.T. - Politics, C.O.A.T. - Scams, C.O.A.T. - Self-Defense, Depression 2.0

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