• 102 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 106 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 108 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 111 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 112 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 113 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 114 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 115 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 119 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 119 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 120 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 122 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 122 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 126 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 126 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 127 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 129 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
  • 129 days Europe’s Economy Is On The Brink As Putin’s War Escalates
  • 132 days What’s Causing Inflation In The United States?
  • 133 days Intel Joins Russian Exodus as Chip Shortage Digs In
Robert Prechter

Robert Prechter

Robert Prechter, Jr., is a social theorist and market analyst. He is president of Elliott Wave International, a forecasting firm servicing institutional and private investors…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

The FDIC Anesthesia Is Wearing Off

The following article is an excerpt from Robert Prechter's Elliott Wave Theorist. For more information from Robert Prechter on bank safety, download his free report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks.

Perhaps the single greatest reason for the unbridled expansion of credit over the past 50 years is the existence of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, another government-sponsored enterprise created by Congress. The coming rush of bank failures is an outcome made inevitable the very day that Congress created the FDIC. The reason is that the creation of the FDIC allowed savers to believe that their deposits at banks are "insured" against loss.

But the FDIC is not really an insurance company. No enterprise, absent fraud, could possibly insure all the banking deposits in a nation. Nor does the FDIC do so, despite its claims. The FDIC is like AIG, the company that sold too many credit-default swaps. It contracted for more insurance than it could pay upon. Because depositors believe the sticker on the door of the bank, they have abdicated their responsibility to make sure that their banks' officers handle their deposits prudently. This abdication allowed banks to lend with impunity for decades until they became saturated with unpayable debts.

Today, most banks are insolvent, and the FDIC is broke. This condition is deflationary for three reasons: (1) Banks are coming to realize that the FDIC cannot bail them out in a systemic crisis, so they have become highly conservative in their lending policies, as described above. (2) The main way that the FDIC gets its money is to dun marginally healthy banks for more "premiums" (meaning transfer payments) to bail out their disastrously run competitors. The more money the FDIC sucks out of marginally healthy banks, the less money those banks have on hand to lend, which is deflationary. (3) The banks that have to cough up all this money will become more impoverished at the margin, so banks that otherwise might have survived a credit crunch will be thrown even closer to the brink of failure. This is another deflationary risk.

A friend of mine whose family owns a bank told me that the FDIC recently raised its 6-month assessment from $17,000 to $600,000. In the FDIC's latest announcement, it is considering requiring banks to pre-pay three years' worth of "premiums," i.e. triple the normal annual fee in a single year. It will be a miracle if the money lasts through 2010. When these funds are gone, the FDIC will have two more options: to issue its own bonds and pressure banks to buy them; and to tap its "credit line" of up to half a trillion dollars with the U.S. Treasury. It's the same old solution: take on more new debt to back up failing old debt. More debt will not cure the debt crisis.

Meanwhile, the FDIC is contributing to the deflationary trend. It has "tightened rules on required capital levels," which forces banks' loan ratios to fall; and it has "extended its extra monitoring of new banks from the first three years of operation to seven years" (AJC, 11/19), meaning that banks will now have to wait four additional years before they can go crazy with loans.

For more information from Robert Prechter on bank safety, download his free report, Discover the Top 100 Safest U.S. Banks. You'll learn how to find a safe bank, the critical difference between lending and banking, tips on international banking, and more.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment