A vice president at Zions Bank said she believes the basic insurance amount of $100,000 per depositor at each bank insured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. isn't high enough, particularly for businesses.

LeeAnne Linderman, executive vice president at Zions and incoming chairwoman of the Utah Bankers Association, said some businesses need more than $100,000 in their accounts for day-to-day operations, and she said the FDIC insurance amount should increase to meet their needs.

"When times are good, the question doesn't come up," Linderman said about the FDIC's maximum insurance rates.

Linderman and other members of the Utah Bankers Association spoke with the Deseret News Editorial Board on Monday about stability at Utah's banks.

In recent days, the local banks have fielded calls from customers who are worried about their money since the collapse of IndyMac Bancorp Inc. earlier this month. IndyMac, a California-based thrift, had invested in bad mortgages and then struggled to raise capital. Customers ran to withdraw their money from their IndyMac accounts as they learned about its problems, taking out more than $1.3 billion over 11 days.

The $100,000 insurance maximum has been FDIC policy for about 30 years. Individual Retirement Accounts are insured up to $250,000. Typically, if a person has more than $100,000, he or she needs to open accounts at other banks to get full FDIC coverage. The FDIC sometimes offers money for uninsured deposits — those above $100,000. In the case of IndyMac, people will get 50 cents to the uninsured $1.

Utah's banks are not facing the dire straits that challenged IndyMac, the association members said. The Utah banks have an average of 18.18 percent of their assets in capital. The national average is 7.59 percent, according to the most recent data in March, according to the association. But if large numbers of Utahns demanded their deposits in cash at the same time, the banks wouldn't survive.


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com