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U.S. isn't considering 'blanket insurance' for bank deposits, Yellen says

The treasury secretary made the comments at a Senate hearing and was asked about the Biden administration’s efforts to protect depositors and prevent bank runs.
Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on financial services in Washington on Wednesday.Win McNamee / Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was not considering providing “blanket insurance” for banking deposits following the collapse of two prominent banks this month.

Yellen made the comments at a hearing of a Senate appropriations subcommittee, where lawmakers posed questions about the administration’s efforts to protect depositors and prevent bank runs.

Yellen told the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government that President Joe Biden’s administration was focused on stabilizing the banking system and improving public confidence in it.

But she said the administration was not considering expanding bank deposit guarantees beyond the FDIC’s current $250,000 limit, seen as a major roadblock to swift action to stem a deeper crisis.

When a bank failure “is deemed a systemic risk, which I think of as the risk of a contagious bank run, (we) are likely to invoke (a) systemic risk exception, which permits the FDIC to protect all deposits,” Yellen said, adding the department will continue to determine systemic risks on a case-by-case basis.

Yellen said the administration was not considering “anything having to do with blanket insurance or guarantees of deposits.”

She said the Treasury Department was working to restore the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s (FSOC) ability to designate non-bank financial institutions as systemically important.