MADELEINE BRAND, host:
The president says your money is safe. It's backed by the FDIC. At least, 100,000 dollars is. Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics for Moody's Economy.com is here now, to talk about just how safe your money really is in a bank. Hi, Gus.
Mr. GUS FAUCHER (Director, Macroeconomics, Moody's Economy.com): Hello.
BRAND: So, how safe is it?
Mr. FAUCHER: Well, as long as you have less than 100,000 dollars or 250,000 dollars, if you have an IRA, you're going to get all of it back. That's all insured by the federal government.
BRAND: And what if you have more?
Mr. FAUCHER: Well, that depends on the circumstances of the bank. The federal government has said that, for IndyMac, they're going to give depositors who have more than 100,000 dollars at least 50 cents on the dollar for every amount (unintelligible) above 100,000. And depending on how things go with the liquidation of the bank's assets, they could very well get more than that. But some of that is going to be at risk.
BRAND: So, should you split up your money into different accounts, so that no account has more than 100,000 dollars in it?
Mr. FAUCHER: That's probably not a bad idea. Certainly - I mean, most banks are not at risk like IndyMac was. Most banks are holding up pretty well. But these things do happen, obviously. A lot of banks are facing problems because of what's going on in the mortgage market. So it certainly couldn't hurt depositors to shift, so that they have 100,000 dollars in each individual bank.
BRAND: And can they have unlimited accounts? As long as they're less than 100,000 dollars they'll be OK?
Mr. FAUCHER: As long as they're across different banks, then they should be fine.
BRAND: We've seen pictures of people lined up for hours outside IndyMac, trying to get their money out. Is that a good idea?
Mr. FAUCHER: Well, I mean, again, unless you're one of those 10,000 depositors of IndyMac who has more than 100,000 dollars in their account, then no. There's no need to do that. The federal government is standing behind that. They're obviously very credible at this point, and you will get all of your money back.
BRAND: So, even if more banks go under, there is no problem there for the federal government backing those deposits?
Mr. FAUCHER: No. I mean, it's back to the - you know, the federal government is probably the most secure entity out there. I mean, it may present a strain to tax payers over the longer run, because the federal government does have to pay that money back eventually, but banks have been paying insurance premiums. And so the FDIC has built up a fund for this very reason, so that they can pay depositors back if something does go wrong.
BRAND: So, is there any place out there, other than a secure safe, where your money is absolutely safe?
Mr. FAUCHER: No. I mean, you know, no matter where you put your money, you're going to face some risk. I mean, the federal government insures the deposits up to 100,000 dollars. So that's probably about as good as it can get. But, I mean, by definition, you know, investing requires taking on some risk in order to get return. So, you know, if you're very, very risk aversive, if you don't want to take chances, then just put your money in a bank, and make sure it's less than 100,000 dollars per bank.
BRAND: Well, Gus, thank you.
Mr. FAUCHER: Sure thing, Madeleine. Thanks. Bye.
BRAND: That's Gus Faucher. He's director of macroeconomics for Moody's Economy.com.