For bankers, November 2, 2009, is a key date to remember in conjunction with unlimited FDIC deposit insurance on noninterest-bearing transaction accounts. By that date, bankers must decide to opt out of the program, or not. For bank customers, November 16, 2009, is a key date because by that date banks that opt out must post notices to that effect.

You will remember the origins of this program: The Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program was established in October 2008 in the midst of a severe disruption in the credit market. The TAG program is one of two elements of the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. The other element is the Debt Guarantee Program that provides a guarantee for bank-issued senior debt. The ability to issue debt under that program was scheduled to expire on June 30, 2009 and has been generally extended for four months.

On August 26, 2009, the Board of Directors of FDIC approved its Final Rule on the extension of unlimited deposit insurance for transaction accounts under TAG, and the rule is effective October 1, 2009. The program has been extended to June 30, 2010 (from December 31, 2009).

Each financial institution that participates will be subject to certain FDIC fees during the extension. The Final Rule provides that financial institutions can opt out of the program by November 2, 2009, and it describes the procedures required for a financial institution to make an election to opt out. The fees to be paid by participating institutions are based on the entity’s Risk Category under the FDIC’s risk-based premium system and range from 15 basis points to 25 basis points (annualized) multiplied by the amounts held in noninterest-bearing accounts that exceed the current deposit insurance limit of $250,000.

The rule also contains requirements for financial institutions to provide notices to customers with respect to the financial institution’s participation in TAG. In summary, the notices must be prominent and must be posted in the lobby of the main office, in each branch office and on the financial institution’s website if it offers internet deposit services. The notice must state whether the institution is participating in the transaction guarantee program and, if so, that the funds held in noninterest-bearing transaction accounts are guaranteed in full by the FDIC.

In addition, the rule requires certain disclosures of institutions that use sweep arrangements or other actions that result in funds being transferred or reclassified to an account that is not guaranteed under TAG. For example, funds swept into an interest bearing account would not be covered. These disclosures must advise customers that such arrangements would void the FDIC’s insurance guarantee with respect to the swept, transferred, or reclassified funds.

The FDIC’s Final Rule is available here.