For all of us who’ve spent the better part of a year calling on Congress to extend the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee program, last week’s Senate vote against an extension was hard to swallow. Following a 76-20 procedural vote in favor of S. 3637, a 50-42 vote was not enough to overcome a procedural motion blocking advancement of the bill just a couple of days later.
Failing to get the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation puts the measure on hold in the Senate. But ICBA is not giving up. It was a procedural hurdle, not the merits of S. 3637, that put the TAG extension on hold. Congress has until midnight on the night of Dec. 31 to extend this coverage, and ICBA is going to use every minute until then to urge lawmakers to act.
But it’s not going to be easy, and community bankers should do their due diligence to ensure they and their customers are ready for every eventuality. While ICBA is working to remind members of Congress how important this legislation is to Main Street, community banks should prepare for and notify their customers of the scheduled expiration.
The FDIC recently released guidance encouraging banks to remind depositors that would be affected by the coverage change about the scheduled end of the coverage. Banks may use “any reasonable method” to remind depositors. If the coverage expires, banks are obligated to remove any notices about the coverage from their offices or websites.
Make no mistake, ICBA is doing everything it can to procure this much-needed extension, but community banks must be ready for whatever the New Year brings. Let’s hope for the best, prepare for the worst and work this issue until the clock runs out.