This story and image was originally published in the September 2019 issue of Highland Park Neighbors. It has been republished with permission.
If you’ve ever heard a TV or radio commercial promoting a bank, chances are it ended with a phrase about the bank being FDIC insured. Since this message comes at the end of every commercial, you might write it off as fine print or something the bank is legally required to let you know.
Actually, while the majority of banks are members of the FDIC—or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—not all are. The FDIC is an organization that was created by Congress in 1933 to maintain stability and public confidence in the U.S. banking system. And, while this group focuses on a number of different financial issues, the most well-known is providing insurance to your bank deposits.
FDIC-member banks provide customers with insurance up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank, for each account ownership category. This means that if anything happens to your bank—like if it declares bankruptcy or suffers another financial hardship— you won’t lose your money. In fact, no one has lost a penny of FDIC-insured funds since the organization was established.
It’s important to note, however, that FDIC insurance doesn’t cover everything. It’s limited to checking accounts, negotiable order of withdrawal (NOW) accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), money market accounts, cashier checks, money orders, and other official items issued by the bank.
And, of course, FDIC insurance only covers up to $250,000 per depositor per insured bank for each account ownership category. For example: If you have $250,000 in an account at a large nationally branded bank branch in Highland Park and another $250,000 in an account at a branch of the same large nationally branded bank in Chicago—or even another state—only $250,000 of your $500,000 is insured. Why? Because both accounts are with the same financial institution.
There are several ways to maximize your FDIC insurance, however. Three of the most common include:
- If you, your spouse, and your college-aged child each open separate accounts in your own names, each account will be insured for $250,000, resulting in FDIC coverage up to $750,000.
- If you and your spouse (or another co-owner) open a joint account in addition to your personal accounts, you can receive an additional $250,000 of insurance coverage.
- As the account owner, you can name five or fewer beneficiaries and receive $250,000 of FDIC protection for each beneficiary listed. An account with three beneficiaries would be FDIC insured up to $750,000, for example, while an account with five beneficiaries would be insured up to $1.25 million.
To calculate your coverage, visit the FDIC’s Electronic Insurance Deposit Estimator at www.edie.fdic.gov.
Although these options might provide enough coverage for most individuals or families, current FDIC coverage limits might not be sufficient for bigger entities, such as nonprofits, family offices, or municipalities that keep much larger cash balances on hand. As we detailed above, there are ways to increase coverage for most individuals. Unfortunately, businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities are limited to $250,000 of FDIC coverage per institution. However, these organizations often need significantly more coverage, which is something that only Wintrust Community Banks are uniquely suited to provide.
Because Wintrust is comprised of 15 separate community bank charters in Illinois and Wisconsin, we are able to combine FDIC insurance coverage to offer 15 times the usual amount of protection through our MaxSafe® program, which is available to consumer and business clients. This allows a customer of Highland Park Bank & Trust (or any Wintrust Community Bank) to increase the maximum amount of FDIC insurance coverage from $250,000 to up to $3.75 million.
From a single MaxSafe account, you can obtain up to $3.75 million in FDIC protection per titled account on a CD or money market account. We offer the MaxSafe program through either of our two Highland Park Bank & Trust or through any Wintrust Community Bank, Wintrust Commercial Banking, and a number of our niche lending groups, including those serving government municipalities and condo, townhouse, and homeowners associations.
We have more than 25 years of experience advising these types of organizations on maximizing insurance coverage, as well as lending, budgeting, and financial planning. If you’re interested in learning more about our MaxSafe program or other services we provide, feel free to give us a call at 847-432- 9988 or stop in and see us at Highland Park Bank & Trust.