updated 7/12/2010 2:02:30 PM ET 2010-07-12T18:02:30

Federal bank regulators have agreed to give the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. unlimited authority to fully investigate banks, clarifying the agency's power that was in question during the financial crisis.

The FDIC's board on Monday approved the agreement between the insurance agency and regulators at the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. It clearly spells out the FDIC's authority to make special examinations of banks. It was approved 5-0.

Federal bank regulators were widely criticized during the financial crisis for failing to signal high-risk practices before the institutions failed.

The FDIC, which takes over failed banks, has said it lacked access to needed information to evaluate banks' risk.

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