With continued news of a volatile stock market and reports of economic instability, Americans want to know the strength of their bank. Most seniors have navigated successfully through difficult economies, such as the Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980s and the historically significant Great Depression era. Even so, many questions remain concerning the stability of banking in our surrounding communities. The following recommendations should help you feel confident about your local bank:
Learn the financial status of your bank and compare it to other peer banks
Determine your FDIC coverage
Talk to your banker
To learn about your bank and compare it to other banks, visit the FDIC website at www.fdic.gov. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation offers information about chartered banks in the United States. There is an excellent tool at the FDIC website titled, “Consumer Resources.” Within the “Consumer Resources” section, there is an option called “Bank Find.” When you click on it, enter your bank’s name and address. It will report whether your bank is a member of the FDIC, along with financial information and a historical profile. To compare your bank with peer banks, use the tool called “Compare to Peer Groups.” This option is available after you find your bank and click on financial information.
You can find another tool at the FDIC website that generates a report calculating your FDIC coverage. This report is printable and is called, “EDIE,” Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator. You can prepare the report at home on your computer or your bank can prepare it for you. For security purposes, the report does not require account numbers or your full name. Instead, simply type your first name and indicate the number and type of accounts you own. This information is vital, as FDIC coverage is determined by ownership categories, such as Individual, Joint and POD (payable on death). The FDIC website provides detailed information about these ownership categories.
Finally, visit your local banker. If you are confused after trying to maneuver around the FDIC website or feel like you have additional questions, your banker should confidently fill in any details about the bank the FDIC website did not address. Your banker’s willingness to discuss the FDIC, provide an EDIE report, and discuss the safety and soundness of the bank are important gauges for your peace of mind.