The FDIC has the unique mission of protecting depositors of insured banks and savings associations. No depositor has ever experienced a loss on the insured amount of their deposit in an FDIC-insured institution due to a failure. Once an institution is closed by its chartering authority – the state for state-chartered institutions, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) for national banks and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) for federal savings associations – the FDIC is responsible for resolving that failed bank or savings association. The FDIC gathers data about the troubled institution, estimates the potential loss to the insurance fund from various resolution alternatives, solicits and evaluates bids from potential acquirers, and recommends the least-costly resolution method to the FDIC's Board of Directors.
Resolving Financial Institution Failures
For the second consecutive calendar year, there was no failure of an insured depository institution in 2006, further extending the longest period in the history of the FDIC during which no insured institution failed-a record 31 months. The Corporation's remaining receivership management workload also continued to decline. The accompanying chart provides liquidation highlights and trends for the past three years.
*No failures in 2005 or 2006 @Includes activity from thrifts resolved by the former Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation and the Resolution Trust Corporation #Least Cost Test Savings
Large Bank Contingency Planning
The FDIC must ensure that it has the tools and strategies necessary to fulfill its missions as deposit insurer and receiver for all insured banks and thrifts. As the banking industry has become more concentrated and as larger insured institutions have grown significantly, the FDIC has undertaken a number of concrete steps to enhance its capabilities to manage the resolution of a large bank. Some of the initiatives involved in this ongoing process are contingency planning exercises, system and process improvements for determination of deposit insurance claims and management of failing bank assets, consultations with domestic and international regulators, improvements to the FDIC's supervisory program for larger banks, and the designation of internal and external expertise to focus on larger bank issues. The Claims Administration System (CAS), described in the following section, is one of these initiatives. This effort will continue and evolve as the challenges change in the future.
Claims Modernization Project
The FDIC is taking advantage of the hiatus in resolution activity by modernizing the way it determines the insurance status of depositors in the event of failure by streamlining its business processes and modernizing the internal systems used to facilitate a deposit insurance determination through improved use of current technology. This includes development and implementation of a new insurance determination system called the Claims Administration System (CAS) to be implemented in 2008, which will provide an integrated solution that will meet the current and future deposit insurance determination needs of the FDIC. The new system will minimize the potential for FDIC losses, reduce any spillover effects that could lead to systemic risks, preserve franchise value, and produce deposit insurance results in a timely manner in order to quickly provide funds to claimants.
Professional Liability Recoveries
The FDIC works to identify potential claims against directors and officers, accountants, appraisers, attorneys and other professionals who may have contributed to the failure of an insured financial institution. Once a claim is deemed viable and cost-effective to pursue, the FDIC initiates legal action against the appropriate parties. The FDIC strives to make a decision to close or pursue 80 percent of all potential claims within 18 months of the failure date.
During 2006, the FDIC recovered approximately $36.2 million from these professional liability suits. In addition, as part of the sentencing process for those convicted of criminal wrongdoing against failed institutions, the court may order a defendant to pay restitution to the receivership. The FDIC, working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, collected approximately $10.5 million in criminal restitution payments during the year. The FDIC's caseload at the end of 2006 included investigations, lawsuits and ongoing settlement collections involving 13 claims and 95 other active collection matters, down from 127 at the beginning of 2006. At the end of 2006, there were 814 pending restitution orders, down from 995. This includes orders won by the former Resolution Trust Corporation for which the FDIC assumed responsibility on January 1, 1996.
Protecting Insured Depositors
Although the FDIC's focus in recent years has shifted from resolving large numbers of failed institutions to addressing existing and emerging risks in insured depository institutions, the FDIC continues to protect depositors and other stakeholders of those institutions that fail. The FDIC's ability to attract healthy institutions to assume deposits and purchase assets of failed banks and savings associations minimizes the disruption to customers and allows some assets to be returned to the private sector immediately. Assets remaining after resolution are liquidated by the FDIC in an orderly manner, and the proceeds are used to pay creditors, including depositors whose accounts exceeded the insured limit. During 2006, the FDIC paid dividends of 80.2 percent of the deposit amount exceeding the insured limit, which represents an increase of 2.3 percent from 2005.