The FDIC is set to ask banks to prepay three years of fees to replenish its coffers after a wave of bank failures, estimated to cost as much as $100 billion. Banks would be asked to prepay $45 billion of their quarterly assessments, but they wouldn't have to report the hit to their bottom line until the fees would normally be paid. The FDIC projects that its cash needs will outstrip liquid assets early next year.
The regulator is trying to avoid making "special assessments"—basically, demands for more money—on healthy banks, and it also doesn't want to hit up taxpayers by tapping into a $500 billion line of credit it has with the Treasury. "Everybody has bailout fatigue," FDIC chair Sheila Bair tells Reuters. (Read more FDIC stories.)