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Is Your Cash Safe at the Bank?

Leonard Wright, chair of the society's personal financial planning committee, suggests consumers scratch 10% off the FDIC's limits when figuring out where to store their funds, otherwise they may lose interest payments. One of Wright's clients initially held $100,000 in a CD at IndyMac, which accrued interest over time. Luckily, the client was able to negotiate with FDIC representatives to recoup half of the interest payments, but some would look at the situation as a glass half empty rather than half full.

Wright suggests that consumers diversify their accounts, and consider holding funds at more than one bank if they are very concerned about insolvency. He says consumers have become complacent in the decades that passed since the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, which caused hundreds of banks to collapse.

"Time passes and people feel comfortable with investments and putting their nest egg all in one basket," Wright says. "If they've got a couple million bucks in the bank, I suggest they move things around a bit."

Wright suggests consumers with plenty of cash diversify their investments and take a look at brokerage houses, which tend to provide "a little bit more" insurance than what is offered by traditional banks. And while clients might think the biggest brand-name banks are the safest, some of them have more exposure to risky assets than small community banks.

"There are a lot of very high-quality, local community banks that have been very boring over time," Wright says, "and boring is good."
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