Odds are that your bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and that your bank pays a premium to the FDIC for said insurance. And while those banks may choose to pass that cost on to customers, they can’t go calling it something like an “FDIC fee.”
The FDIC has sent a letter to its insured banks to remind them of this fact. It says it has “received a number of complaints from depositors” about tacked-on fees with labels like “FDIC assessment,” “FDIC insurance premium,” or “FDIC insurance charge.”
The letter explains that these names not only mislead consumers into thinking that these fees are coming directly from the FDIC, but could also “reveal information that could be used to determine an institution’s confidential supervisory ratings.”
Additionally, some banks have referred customer questions about their fees directly to the FDIC, which does not charge the fee.
That would be like an airline referring customers to its fuel supplier to explain fuel surcharges.
Though the FDIC doesn’t name names in the letter, the Chicago Tribune took a quick look at some banks to see how they were labeling fees intended to recoup FDIC premiums.
The paper found a statement on the Bank of America website that said the bank “may charge” an “FDIC assessment based on the assessment rate the FDIC charges us… We generally calculate the FDIC assessment using the same calculation method used by the FDIC.”
A look at the Regions Bank site also found that the bank’s business checking accounts “may be subject to an FDIC fee for administrative services associated with FDIC-insured accounts.”
To clarify, the regulator states, “The FDIC does not charge (bank) customers for deposit insurance.”
Read the full PDF of the letter HERE.