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FDIC Consumer News - Spring 1999

Important Update: Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage

The FDIC deposit insurance rules have undergone a series of changes starting in the fall of 2008. As a result, certain previously published information related to FDIC insurance coverage may not reflect the current rules. For details about the changes, visit Changes in FDIC Deposit Insurance Coverage. For more information about FDIC insurance, go to www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/index.html or call toll-free 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342). For the hearing-impaired, the number is 1-800-925-4618.

New FDIC interactive Internet site analyzes your  insurance coverage

You don't need to be a magician with numbers or even a computer wiz to benefit from the FDIC's new online service for analyzing your deposit insurance coverage.

"Deposits insured by the FDIC to $100,000." You've probably seen that wording at your bank or savings and loan association. But many folks wonder: Is that $100,000 per account or $100,000 per person? Is it $100,000 at this one bank or every one of your banks combined?

The FDIC for years has published brochures, offered seminars, staffed a toll-free Call Center (800-934-3342) and responded to letters from consumers in order to answer questions about deposit insurance in general or how the rules apply to a family's specific group of accounts. "But there seemed a need for something more, something that would be available to consumers and bankers 24 hours a day, seven days a week," says Kathleen Nagle, a Senior Consumer Affairs Specialist in the FDIC's Division of Compliance and Consumer Affairs. "That's why the FDIC decided to combine the availability of the Internet with the deposit insurance expertise of our staff."

The result is the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE), an interactive Internet site unveiled by the FDIC in October of 1998 to help consumers and bankers quickly and easily figure out whether a depositor's accounts at an FDIC-insured institution are within the $100,000 insurance limit. The FDIC put this new EDIE service on the Internet to make it available free of charge to as many people as possible.

Don't worry about your deposit insurance coverage if you or your family have less than $100,000 in all your accounts combined at the same bank. But if your accounts total $100,000 or more, you can use EDIE to make sure they're within the insurance limit. It's especially important to review your insurance coverage if there's been a big change in your life (you inherit money or sell your home, for instance) or if you have accounts at two banks that merge. Whenever you do look into your insurance coverage, we think the new EDIE system will be a big help because:

| You don't have to know the deposit insurance rules to calculate your insurance coverage using the EDIE system. "That's probably the best part about EDIE, because the rules can be complicated," says Kate Spears, an FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist. Remember that under the insurance rules, you can have more than $100,000 at one financial institution and still be fully insured, but for that to happen the accounts must be structured properly.

| You don't need a lot of computer skills. We tried to make the system user-friendly and we added a red-haired, green-eyed helper (named "Edie," of course) who'll assist you at each step of the process.

| You don't have to worry about protecting your privacy. No identifying information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, is entered into the system. EDIE also doesn't permanently store any of the account information you enter. When you're done using the system,any information you entered is deleted. But if you're still uncomfortable entering certain names and figures, you can simply use first names or even an alias. (John or Jane Doe will work just fine.) To provide an accurate analysis, however, the other basic information must accurately reflect your bank account records.

| You don't even need to have direct access to the Internet from your home or office. You may be able to use EDIE at your bank (just ask a customer service representative), your local library (many let the public come in to surf the Web for free), or the computer of a friend or relative who's hooked up to the Internet.

Here's how EDIE can help you review your insurance coverage. First, access EDIE through fdic.gov/edie. Then, you'll be asked to answer some simple questions about the types of accounts you have, how much is in the accounts and whose names are on each account (important because coverage is based on how the accounts are "owned"). Again, you can use first names or an alias if that would make you more comfortable.

"Depending on how the accounts are structured, EDIE will quickly analyze the information and produce a report that states in black and white-and red, if you have uninsured funds-just what's insured or not insured," says Spears. "With this information in hand, you may decide to restructure your accounts if EDIE indicates some portion of the money is uninsured." She also suggests that you speak with a customer service representative at your institution for guidance on how to restructure your accounts.

EDIE also provides definitions of banking terms, examples of different account titles, and other information to make the system easier to use. Note: EDIE can estimate the insurance on most types of accounts, including individual accounts, joint accounts, payable-on-death accounts and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). But EDIE can't be used for business accounts or certain complex account types, such as living or family trusts. For help understanding the insurance coverage of these kinds of accounts, talk to your banker or call the FDIC's deposit insurance specialists at (800) 934-3342.

Also through EDIE you access our Deposit Insurance Information Page, which consolidates all of the deposit insurance information available on FDIC's Web site. Included there is a directory that enables you to confirm that an institution is FDIC-insured, a list of frequently asked questions about deposit insurance, and a way to e-mail our insurance experts.

One consumer wrote to the FDIC: "The system is so easy to use! I wish all computer systems were this easy." A banker using the system wrote: "Very helpful! Very easy to use. Lots of double-checking and good definitions."

So, why not check it out for yourself and check up on your insurance coverage at the same time? We think you'll learn some useful information about how deposit insurance works and how your personal savings are protected. You may even learn you're a computer wiz after all.

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Last Updated 12/7/2011 communications@fdic.gov