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WASHINGTON-A report by the FDIC’s inspector general found that the federal deposit insurer for banks and thrifts maneuvered last year to help banks avoid paying a premium. The issue revolves around the calculation to estimate the insured deposits of Oakar institutions, Bank Insurance Fund-institutions that purchased Savings Association Insurance Fund-institutions. Historically, the FDIC had assumed the Oakar secondary fund deposits to be 100%-insured, but “Over time, that assumption became less representative of actual transactions.” The FDIC established a working group in the fall of 2004, to study the methodology for estimating and allocating insured deposits. The new method that came out of that study would have led to a $96 million discrepancy had it been applied retroactively since 1997. This would have caused the BIF to drop below the designated reserve ratio of 1.25% for two separate six-quarter periods, forcing the FDIC Board to take action. However, after consulting with the FDIC chairman and the deputies of other board members, the new methodology was only applied prospectively. The inspector general concluded that FDIC staff should communicate better with the board. In response to the report, CUNA lashed out at the bankers who have railed against NCUA as a rubber stamp regulator. “The FDIC’s reluctance to do anything that might upset the banks it oversees demonstrates that the FDIC, at least under former Chairman Don Powell, is a classic case of an agency that has been `captured’ by those it is supposed to regulate,” CUNA President and CEO Dan Mica said. “The bankers like to paint NCUA as a rubber stamp for credit unions, but now we have proof-if more were needed-that the FDIC is a rubber stamp for banks. It is further troubling that the FDIC-the overseer of billions in consumers’ savings-has been apparently more concerned about reducing costs for the banks it regulates, rather than responding in the interests of safety and soundness.” [email protected]

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