Banks would have to pay a smaller premium to replenish the FDIC if Congress approves a bill by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd to increase in the regulatory agency's line of credit at the Treasury Department.

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Banks would pay an additional 10 cents for every $100 on deposit-compared with the 20 cent increase approved by the FDIC last week–if the agency's line of credit could be increased from $30 billion to as much as $500 billion. The agency could borrow up to $100 billion without additional approval but would need approval from the White House, the Federal Reserve and the secretary of the treasury.

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Its insurance fund, which had a $19 billion balance in December, has paid out $1.8 billion this year as a result of 16 bank failures. By contrast, there were 25 bank failures in 2008 and the fund paid out $33.5 billion.

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