On February 27, the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) voted to amend the restoration plan for the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF). The Board also took action to ensure the continued strength of the insurance fund by imposing a special assessment on insured institutions of 20 basis points, implementing changes to the risk-based assessment system, and setting rates beginning the second quarter of 2009.  

Under the restoration plan approved last October, the Board set a rate schedule to raise the DIF reserve ratio to 1.15% within five years. Today's action extends the restoration plan horizon to seven years in recognition of the current significant strains on banks and the financial system and the likelihood of a severe recession.  

The amended restoration plan was accompanied by a final rule that sets assessment rates and makes adjustments that improve how the assessment system differentiates for risk. Currently, most banks are in the best risk category and pay anywhere from 12 cents per $100 of deposits to 14 cents per $100 of deposits for insurance. Under the final rule, banks in this category will pay initial base rates ranging from 12 cents per $100 to 16 cents per $100 on an annual basis, beginning on April 1.  

The Board adopted an interim rule imposing a 20 basis point emergency special assessment on the industry on June 30. The assessment is to be collected on September 30. The interim rule would also permit the Board to impose an emergency special assessment after June 30 of up to 10 basis points if necessary to maintain public confidence in federal deposit insurance. Comments on the interim rule on special assessments are due no later than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  

Changes to the assessment system include higher rates for institutions that rely significantly on secured liabilities, which may increase the FDIC's loss in the event of failure without providing additional assessment revenue. Under the final rule, assessments will be higher for institutions that rely significantly on brokered deposits but, for well-managed and well-capitalized institutions, only when accompanied by rapid asset growth. The final rule also would provide incentives in the form of a reduction in assessment rates for institutions to hold long-term unsecured debt and, for smaller institutions, high levels of Tier 1 capital.  

Finally, the Board voted to modify the debt guarantee component of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program to allow participating entities, with the FDIC's permission, to issue mandatory convertible debt. This change would provide institutions additional options for raising capital and reducing the concentration of FDIC-guaranteed debt maturing in mid-2012.