The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has raised its estimate of the cost of bailing out insolvent thrifts to $65 billion from the $50 billion projected a few months ago, FDIC Chairman William Seidman said on Sunday.

Seidman told reporters at the American Bankers Association convention the estimate includes the $20 billion the goverment has already spent on recapitalizing and merging failing thrifts.The estimate is in line with the $45 billion to $50 billion estimated last month by the General Accounting Office, which did not include the $20 billion already spent.

The estimate surpasses, however, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board's estimate last week that the total cost of bailing out troubled thrifts would run between $45 billion and $50 billion.

Seidman said the FDIC estimate reflects the cost that would be incurred if the thrifts were banks and the FDIC had to recapitalize them.

"I'm saying if they were banks, that is the number we would come up with," he said.

Funds from the FDIC, which insures bank deposits, are not used to bail out thrifts. Those funds come from the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., which insures thrift deposits.

Private estimates of the cost of the thrift crisis have ranged as high as $100 billion.