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FDIC Consumer News
Updates and Reminders
Standard FDIC Insurance Coverage Is $250,000 Per Depositor
The FDIC has recently received a number of inquiries from depositors confused about future coverage. In 2010, Congress made the standard deposit insurance coverage amount of at least $250,000 permanent. A previous law, passed in 2008, provided for the coverage to revert back to $100,000 at year-end 2013. There will not be any change in the $250,000 coverage amount at the end of this year.
The standard insurance amount applies to each depositor at each insured bank, and for each “ownership category” in which that person has accounts. For example, if you have single accounts, joint accounts and certain retirement accounts at a bank, your money in each category is separately insured for up to $250,000.
As always, if you have questions about your FDIC insurance coverage, call us toll-free at 1-877 ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342) or visit www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits.
FDIC Launches New Version of Financial Education Podcasts
The FDIC has launched an updated English version of the portable audio (MP3) network for the agency’s “Money Smart” financial education curriculum. These podcasts enable consumers of all ages to learn while they are “on the go” about making informed and prudent financial decisions.
The content is organized into four categories: Basics of Banking, Checking Accounts, Savings/Spending Plan, and Borrowing Money. The material has been updated to reflect changes in consumer laws and industry practices since the podcast was created in 2009. The audio files can be accessed at the Money Smart Podcast Network website at www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/audio.
Regulators Encourage Institutions to Report Suspected Elder Fraud
The FDIC and six other federal regulatory agencies issued guidance in September 2013 that, in effect, encourages financial institutions to spot and report suspected fraud and theft targeting older adults. The guidance clarifies that federal privacy laws generally permit financial institutions to report suspected instances of elder financial abuse to the appropriate authorities.
“Recent studies suggest that financial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse and that only a small fraction of incidents is reported,” the regulators said in a press release. “Employees of financial institutions may be able to spot irregular transactions, account activity, or behavior that signals financial abuse. They can play a key role in preventing and detecting elder financial exploitation by reporting suspicious activities to the proper authorities.”
For tips on how older adults can avoid financial scams, including information about the importance of reporting a fraud or theft, see the Summer 2013 FDIC Consumer News (www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/news/cnfall13/mortgage_scams.html).
Why and How to Make Extra Payments on Student Loans
Consumers can repay their student loan debt faster — and pay less money in interest — by sending in more than the minimum required each month. For borrowers who have more than one student loan, the best approach is to apply any extra payments to the loan with the highest interest rate first. However, that may not happen unless borrowers specifically tell their loan servicer (the company that collects their payments) where any extra payments should go.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued an advisory for borrowers, including a sample letter that can be customized and sent to loan servicers with instructions on how to apply any extra payments. Find this guidance at http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201310_cfpb_consumer_advisory_student_loan_repayment.pdf.
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