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U.S. regulator wants better deposit data from big banks

Downtown Manhattan and the One World Trade building (R) are seen from the observation level of the Empire State Building in the Manhattan borough of New York February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Douwe Miedema

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The largest U.S. and foreign banks would need to keep track of deposits better under a plan launched by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on Tuesday, as many lenders have grown and become more complex.

Under the plan, banks with more than 2 million or so accounts would be required to enhance their record keeping and be able to calculate the amounts for each depositor by the end of any business day, the agency said.

It said the FDIC "has often found inconsistent and missing data" in the current records, which the banks need to provide because of an earlier rule that was issued in 2008.

The FDIC's role is to step in when a bank is in trouble and it then has to decide rapidly which clients get their money back because they fall under the deposit guarantee scheme, a crucial measure to retain trust in the system.

The new requirements might well spark protests from banks, which have been subject to a raft of new rules that have ramped up compliance costs, and have sapped some of the most lucrative businesses after the 2007-09 financial crisis.

Smaller community banks, which have garnered substantial support in Congress, were exempt from the rule.

The FDIC's plan, which the agency's board will vote on later on Tuesday, asked a long list of questions that banks may comment on. Once it has digested any feedback, it may propose a rule and later finalize it.

Among the banks affected were Bank of America (BAC.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Wells Fargo (WF.N), and foreign banks such as Barclays (BARC.L) and Santander (SAN.MC).

The largest number of deposit accounts at a single bank had risen 42 percent to 84.5 million in December 2014 from June 2008 and the number of deposit accounts at the 10 biggest banks had gone up by 25 percent in that period, the FDIC said.

(Reporting by Douwe Miedema; Editing by Bill Trott)