I recently purchased an 18-month certificate of deposit at a local savings bank that claims to be FDIC insured.

But as I read reports that many banks around the country are failing to meet their obligations, I am concerned about the safety of my investment.How can I, as a layman, determine the financial condition of this bank in a language I can understand and how can I verify that it is in fact FDIC insured? - G.B., Salt Lake City.

According to a spokeswoman for the FDIC in Washington, D.C., a CD is considered an insured account, which means the principal is insured up to $100,000 - if the bank is insured by the FDIC.

If your bank failed and was taken over by another bank, the only difference would be the rate of interest the new bank would pay on your CD. It might pay you a lower rate of interest than your present bank.

The FDIC insures each individual account up to $100,000. According to the FDIC spokeswoman, savings, checking and CDs are considered the same type of account and are collectively insured up to $100,000.

A KEOGH account is considered another type of account and is insured, separately from CDs, checking or savings accounts, up to $100,000.

If you have questions about what accounts are insured separately, ask your bank.

If you intend to keep more than $100,000 in a bank, the obvious strategy to protect your money is to open accounts in several FDIC insured banks or keep it in different types of accounts that are insured separately at the same bank.

Most of us, of course, don't have to worry about such a problem.

All federally chartered banks must be insured by the FDIC. Banks with FDIC insurance, whether they are federally chartered or not, must prominently display the FDIC logo.

As far as a bank's financial condition is concerned, your best bet is to look at its most recent annual and quarterly reports.

The bank's officers explain the most recent developments in the bank's financial position in a letter to the stockholders.