Headlines blaze in the past few days, full of the fear rippling through Wall Street and the banking industry. But so far, there's little talk yet of the justifiable fear that regular consumers have about who's holding their money and if it going to be there tomorrow. After all, Main Street tends to live a tighter money-life than Wall Street and therefore we potentially have that much more to lose should one of ours go under. Nearly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. What's in the bank may be all we have.
Lehman Brothers (the burning-up financial institution of the day) is not exactly full of Main Street bankers, but when names like Washington Mutual and Bank of America (even though news is good) get into black and white and on screen so close to chatter on Lehman's bankruptcy, regular America gets scared—again.
We felt this with IndyMac and Countrywide earlier in the year and we all want the money-madness to be over. But the bank failures keep coming. More and more local and national banks have made the most recent FDIC "danger" list—which they will not disclose until the you-know-what hits the fan. Some news outlets have been naming names but only the FDIC and true insiders have the scoop we'd love to know: Is my bank safe?
Let information be your rock. Here are the consumer-information pages at the FDIC's web site where you can find out if your bank and your individual and joint accounts fall under FDIC coverage (remember, total cash held in one bank insured to $100,000, IRAs to $250,000): Are My Deposits Insured?
This is the FDIC's online tool to check coverage if you have multiple accounts and more than $100,000: EDIE.
And should you want to shop around for another possibly more stable place to put your funds, even if you have coverage but it doesn't give you peace of mind, check Bankrate.com's Safe and Sound ratings. Not a guarantee a bank is out of danger, but certainly a useful bit of research. The FDIC site also offers up several other ratings sites here.
Keep watching the show and this site for updates and let me know what you're most worried about as banks continue to take the headlines. I want to help as many of you as I can.