WHAT'S UP: The federal fund that insures American bank deposits may need a taxpayer-financed cash infusion in the form of a Treasury Department loan.

WHAT GIVES: After 11 bank failures this year, especially the July collapse of IndyMac Bank, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has less in its fund than is required by Congress.

WHAT'S NEXT: All eyes are on Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., the nation's largest thrift, whose deposits would cost billions more to insure if it fails. The FDIC fund currently has about $45 billion, the lowest level since 2003.