American Share Insurance: The Sole Surviving Private Deposit Insurer in the United States
Founded in 1974, American Share Insurance (ASI) is an insurer for deposits in credit unions and it is the sole surviving private primary deposit insurer in the US. We assess reasons why ASI survived when numerous other deposit insurance systems did not. These reasons include ASI’s policy of insuring only credit unions, its geographic diversification, its efforts to shed the quasi-governmental nature of other nonfederal deposit insurers, its covering only stronger depositories, its ability to draw funding from stronger insured institutions as needed, and its use of incentives for improved performance among its insured institutions. While the severity of the effects of the housing, financial, and economic crises on depositories and their insurers is yet to become fully clear, ASI’s performance up to the Summer of 2009 points to a set of practices that could help buttress other government and private deposit insurers in the US and abroad.