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No reason for alarm

The banking industry in Alabama assures us there is no reason for alarm over Monday’s moves in Congress to stabilize the economy.

Although the House rejected a $700 billion bailout, it is anticipated that the Senate will take up the bill on Wednesday and the House will reconsider the bill either late Wednesday or sometime Thursday.

The most reassuring words come from Dan Bailey, CEO of the Alabama Bankers Association. “The Alabama banking industry is well prepared to ride out the economic storm,” he said Monday. “And our citizens should know that their deposits are safe. No customer has ever lost a penny of federally insured deposits.”

Here are some facts about recent events provided by the Alabama Bankers Association:

The vast majority of America’s banks are highly capitalized, which means the industry has a cushion of about $1.3 trillion that stands as a backstop against possible losses, making the possibility remote of anyone’s bank being taken over by the FDIC. And if it did happen, we would have uninterrupted access to our FDIC insured deposits.

Our bank deposits are FDIC-insured up to $100,000, and there are legal and safe ways to get even more FDIC coverage depending on how we set up our accounts. Banks have more information or use the deposit insurance calculator at www.fdic.gov for more information.

Banks pay premiums to provide FDIC insurance for their customers. The fund that guarantees bank customers’ deposits is completely 100 percent funded by banks — not by the government and not by taxpayers.

Our banks here in the United States are among the most highly regulated in the world. What the recent crisis indicates is reforms needed on less regulated mortgage brokers and Wall Street.

This is another blip on the radar; another dip in a cycle. There’s no need to panic or fear, but if you have questions, call your local banker.