The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is an independent agency created by the U.S. Congress to maintain stability in the nation's financial system by insuring deposits, supervising financial institutions for safety and soundness and consumer protection, and managing receiverships. It also conducts examinations of banks and thrifts. The FDIC insurance fund insures the deposits in U.S. banks and thrifts. It is also charged with selling off failed financial institutions seized by regulators. The agency has six regional offices across the U.S., in addition to its headquarters in Washington, D.C.
In 2008, the FDIC responded to the global financial crisis by increasing its deposit insurance coverage limits from $100,000 per account to $250,000. The FDIC also announced in 2008 a Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program aimed at strengthening confidence in the financial system and encouraging liquidity within banks. The program essentially offers banks unlimited deposit insurance for noninterest-bearing bank accounts through 2009.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has been lauded for taking a leading role as a regulator amid the banking crisis, calling for policy changes that would allow the government to place large financial companies, such as insurance companies, bank-holding companies and broker-dealers, into receivership, among other initiatives. Bair also has sparred with industry lawmakers and government officials in the battle to reshape regulation. One staff described her management style as "head-cracking" at times. The agency stands to lose substantial powers to regulate banks should a financial regulation bill under consideration in the Senate be passed.
The FDIC has been on a hiring tear. The agency plans to add more than 1,600 employees, including temporary workers, in 2010 if its budget gets a green light. This comes on top of the more than 840 employees, including temporaries, hired in 2009. It is recruiting bank examiners, compliance examiners, economists, financial analysts, and information technology executives. The FDIC offers career development programs including a mentoring program, which provides one-on-one partnering between junior employees and a more senior employee. Nearly 200 employees are involved the program.