How to Find the FDIC Bank Watch List

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is a government agency that insures deposits of banks and thrifts for up to $250,000 per account against the possibility of the holding institution's failure. Although the FDIC maintains close vigilance on banks and thrifts — with stringent attention to those considered at risk of failure — its so-called bank watch list is for internal use only. It is not published. Similar information, however, is available from a wide range of other sources.

Many private companies publish information considered useful by those who wish to avoid investing in or opening accounts with banks or thrifts in danger of failure. These companies are in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the FDIC, but there is no guarantee as to the accuracy of the data they generate. Among them are A.M. Best Co., Bankrate Inc., BauerFinancial Inc., Creative Investment Research Inc., Financial Information Systems LLC, Highline Data LLC, IDC Financial Publishing, Institutional Risk Analytics, LACE Financial Corp., Veribanc and Weiss Ratings Inc.

While much of the content on these companies' websites is available for free, data concerning potential bank failures is premium content.

The FDIC offers a wealth of information on banks and thrifts. Its "Bank & Data Statistics" web page offers "searchable databases to find information on specific banks, their branches, and the industry." Among its offerings are an "Institution Directory," "Uniform Bank Performance Reports," "Security Exchange Act Filings" and "Regional Economic Conditions (RECON)."

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