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All of this has nevertheless led to speculation about whether a similar situation could befall Americans. If American banks were in trouble, could they impose a tax on depositors? More importantly, if everyone rushed to take their money out of the bank in order to avoid the tax, would banks and ATMs shut down, as many have in Cyprus?
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, your money is safe and you shouldn’t worry.
“The FDIC’s core mission is to create stability in the banking system and to protect depositors’ savings,” said FDIC spokesperson David Barr. “During the current economic crisis, consumers have seen firsthand how the FDIC protects their money by swiftly making deposits available when a bank is closed. In the FDIC’s 80-year history, not a single depositor has ever lost a penny of insured money as a result of a bank failure. Our proven track record has helped prevent bank runs during some very difficult economic times.”
Indeed, the FDIC was created in response to the Great Depression in large part to prevent the kind of thing we’re seeing in Cyprus. The FDIC insures the deposits of up to $250,000 (up from $100,000 since the passage of Dodd-Frank).
What, however, would happen if the FDIC were to run out of money? There’s a mechanism for that too. Kathleen Day, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business who teaches a class in financial crises, says that in the event that the FDIC weren’t able to meet its obligations, the Federal Reserve would step in and provide the funds.