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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) maintains several websites providing information on its mission and responsibilities.  Which of the following three could be considered most useful, and why?

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was established in 1933 in response to the financial ruin millions of Americans faced when the mass-scale bank failures that accompanied the Great Depression wiped out those families’ saving.  For many years, it insured deposits in banks that elected to participate in its oversight program for as much as $100,000.  In recent years, in order to bring the insured amount more in-line with decades’ worth of inflation, the insurable amount was increased to $250,000.  The aforementioned oversight role of the FDIC involves examining member banks for “safety and soundness.”  In other words, if the FDIC’s bank inspectors are doing their jobs, they ensure that bank officials are operating with the parameters of the law and conducting no activities that could undermine the bank’s financial stability. 

To compare the three specified FDIC websites for usefulness is, to a large degree, a matter of comparing apples and oranges.  The site is intended as a very basic description of the organization for those with little or no previous knowledge of its mission and responsibilities.  A student being introduced into banking and financial matters would find it useful for the most elementary information, but any prior knowledge on the part of the individual member of the public will quickly render this website obsolete.

The website, on the other hand, is intended for people already involved in the banking system by virtue of their decision to open a savings or other type of deposit account, but for who more detailed information on how the FDIC’s insurance system works in practice.  Unlike the “about/learn/” website, the “deposit/deposits” website is intended for use by people with existing accounts for whom a bank failure may very well be a concern.  Any student seeking an introduction to the FDIC’s mission and responsibilities is unlikely to find this website particularly useful.

The final of the three specified websites,, is, to this individual, the most useful of the three.  While it provides the same basic, introductory information as the “about/learn/” website, it is oriented more towards adults interacting with banks and considering whether to open deposit accounts with a bank that is a member of the FDIC, and whether to open individual or joint accounts – in other words, whether a married couple should pool their deposits or keep them separate.  This website also provides much information not found in the “about/learn/” website regarding  specific types of retirement and trust fund accounts – information not likely needed by the student studying the banking system for the first time.

In conclusion, the usefulness of each of the three websites is entirely dependent upon the individual member of the public’s level of knowledge, need for the information, and experience with a bank that may be in imminent danger of closing.  The least useful for academic purposes is the “deposit/deposits” website; the most useful depends upon the student or other individual.  This educator, though, found the “edie” website most useful for the expanse of detailed information it provided.

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