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FDIC may seek aid from banks

Regulators go to big banks for billions to help bolster depleted deposit insurance.

WASHINGTON — Regulators have approached big banks about borrowing billions to shore up the dwindling fund that insures regular deposit accounts.

The loans would go to the fund maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. that insure depositors when banks fail, said two industry officials familiar with the conversations, who requested anonymity because the plans are still evolving.

Regulators also are considering levying a special emergency fee on all banks, charging regular fees early or tapping a $100 billion credit line with the U.S. Treasury, the people said.

FDIC spokesman Andrew Gray said that while borrowing from the banks “is an option, it’s not being given serious consideration.” The board meeting where the plans will be discussed is scheduled for next week.

But a government official familiar with the FDIC board’s thinking said earlier Tuesday that the plan was being considered. He requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

The fund, which insures deposit accounts up to $250,000, is at its lowest point since 1992, at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis.

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