March 3, 2009 / 7:53 PM / 11 years ago

No alternative to hiking bank fees -- FDIC's Bair

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the agency saw no alternative to aggressively raising bank fees in order to replenish the deposit insurance fund.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said it would be dangerous to public confidence if the fund was allowed to drop to zero and that the agency will “pull back” on the fees if the condition of the fund improves.

“I think it’s painful. We didn’t want to do it, but we searched for alternatives and couldn’t find any,” Bair told the National Association of Attorneys General.

The FDIC last week passed an interim rule to further increase the fees it charges banks to insure deposits and also approved a one-time special assessment fee that will cost the industry $15 billion. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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