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Do You Know?
Who Regulates Banks and Credit Unions
Nowadays, consumers need to know a lot more about how banks and credit unions work in order to feel confident about the security of their savings. The most important thing is to make sure your deposits are federally insured by either the FDIC or the NCUA. So even if your bank fails, your money is safe. This safety net is paid for through our taxes and premiums paid by banks and credit unions to insure the deposits.
So who's watching these institutions? Banks and credit unions that offer consumers federally-insured checking accounts are regulated by different federal agencies. Each state also has a department that watches over the banks in their state. There are 3 primary federal agencies that regulate banks and credit unions. Within these agencies their are different 'offices' or 'departments' that oversee and regulate different aspects of the banks' operations (their acronyms are long). Here are the 3 main agencies:
- Federal Reserve Board 'The Fed' was founded in 1913 to provide stability to our financial system. They manage our government's monetary policy, supervise and regulate banks and provide financial services to these banks -- for example, clearing checks.
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation The FDIC was founded by congress in 1933 to protect deposits. This was in response to thousands of bank closures in the late 1920's and early 1930's. This independent federal agency insures deposits and regulates banks. The FDIC can take over a bank if they're insolvent and either sell-off it assets or run the bank.
- National Credit Union Administration In 1934, the federal government passed the Federal Credit Union Act to facilitate the chartering of federal credit unions in every state. The purpose was to make credit available to individuals and promote individual savings. These institutions are not-for-profit and are managed as cooperatives. In the 1970's the NCUA was formed and is backed of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (just like FDIC-insured deposit accounts).
Tips About Checking Accounts and Reloadable Debit Cards
Free and basic checking accounts share many of the same qualities. Free checking accounts are really just basic checking accounts that do not charge a monthly service fee. Most free and basic accounts do not earn interest on balances and do not come with advanced account features. Read on...
Mobile Check Deposit is an application that allows you to take pictures of checks with your smartphone or tablet and deposit the funds into your bank accounts. If your bank offers mobile check deposit, you can avoid visiting a branch to deposit checks. Read more...
Most checking accounts come with free debit cards. These cards allow you to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs. These ATMs ("Automatic Teller Machines") allow you to check your balance, withdraw and deposit money, and transfer money between your accounts. Read more...