Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quick Notes for the Day - September 29

Case-Shiller Home Price Index Up 1.6% in July - For the third month in a row, the Case-Shiller home price index rose in a month-over-month comparison. July's number came in 1.6% above June's number as 18 of the 20 cities that make up the index increased. The figures indicate a "stabilization in national real estate values," said David Blitzer of S&P, who cautioned that the expiration of the first-time home buyer tax credit and increased foreclosures could put more downward pressure on prices.

Fed Buys More Than $3.5 Billion in Treasurys - On Tuesday morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York bought $3.545 billion in Treasurys with maturities ranging from 2012 to 2013. This is the only scheduled buyback for the Fed based on its previous statements. The Fed has stated that it plans to finish the buybacks in October in an effort to keep borrowing costs affordable.

Consumer Confidence Slides Slightly - The Conference Board reported that the consumer confidence index fell to 53.1 in September versus 54.5 in August. August had been a dramatic jump of 7 points. "Consumers remain quite apprehensive about the short-term outlook and their incomes," said Lynn Franco, head of the consumer research group at the private research organization.

FDIC Wants 3 Years of Prepayment for FDIC Insurance - In an effort to refill the FDIC reserve fund, the entity is looking for member banks to prepay three years worth of premiums instead of a special assessment or borrowing money from the Treasury. The insurance premium will rise 0.03% starting in 2011.

"The banking industry has substantial liquidity to prepay assessments. As of June 30, FDIC-insured institutions held more than $1.3 trillion in liquid balances, or 22% more than they did a year ago," the FDIC said in a published statement.

Chairwoman Sheila Bair said, "It's clear that the American people would prefer to see an end to policies that look to the federal balance sheet as a remedy for every problem. In choosing this path, it should be clear to the public that the industry will not simply tap the shoulder of the increasingly weary taxpayer."

Some analysts are pointing to the fact that once the financial system is past the current economic setback, then the FDIC will need to rethink its current fee structure. Part of the issue with the system is the fact that the FDIC was only charging premiums on insuring $100,000, and the change last year to $250,000 put an immediate strain on the reserve fund. The increase of 0.03% for 2011 should help alleviate some of the pressure, but more analysis will need to be done.

It should also be noted that the FDIC insurance of $250,000 has been extended to December 31, 2013. After that time, it is scheduled to revert back to $100,000, but this can of course be undone. Many are stating that $250,000 will be the amount going forward.

Deposits at FDIC-insured institutions are now insured up to at least $250,000 per depositor through December 31, 2013. On January 1, 2014, the standard insurance amount will return to $100,000 per depositor for all account categories except for IRAs and other certain retirement accounts (including IRAs) which will remain at $250,000 per depositor. - FDIC Press Release

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