Unbelievable, except that it was the roaring Nineties and anything that appeased corporate America was unquestionably right in those years.
WASHINGTON - The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.This is one of those things where all you can say is yes, we are as stupid as we look. The only saving grace is that the FDIC's hands were pretty much tied by the law, so we can "only" blame Congress for reckless neglect, not all-out malicious insanity.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.