FedFin Analysis: Whom and What the FDIC and Fed Can Save How

Recent editorials and other media have often said that the FRB and/or FDIC have powers or taken actions that is not the factual case as we understand it.  Members of Congress also appear sometimes willing to make assertions about what agencies can do now even if it is unclear if there is statutory authority to do so.  We have provided individual clients with key clarifications, but do so now more generally to support strategic and advocacy decision-making.  Of particular importance is the authority the FDIC is said to have or lack related to uninsured deposits; as detailed below, the agency actually has significant authority to do so as well as even to back BHC debt, as long as certain stringent conditions are met.  As detailed in FSM Report RESCUE65, Congress limited both the FDIC and Fed in hopes that the Dodd-Frank orderly-liquidation authority (OLA, see FSM Report SYSTEMIC30) would permit orderly resolution of even the largest banks and nonbanks without long-term federal support; a subsequent FedFin report will bring the assessment of OLA powers into the current crises’ context given that Congress will surely seek to determine why the FDIC and its sister authorities chose to provide taxpayer support rather than deploy OLA.