Q: Why does the FDIC treat some listing services as deposit brokers, but not others?
A: The FDIC recognizes a distinction between providing information about deposit accounts and facilitating the placement of deposits. If a listing service or other company merely provides information, without attempting to steer potential depositors to particular insured depository institutions, the FDIC believes that the company is not facilitating the placement of deposits. In Advisory Opinion No. 92-50 (July 24, 1992), the FDIC staff explained the distinction as follows: “Where the only function of a deposit listing service is to provide information on the availability and terms of accounts, we believe that the listing service is not facilitating the placement of deposits. Rather, it facilitates the decision of the would-be buyer whether (and from whom) to buy a certificate of deposit; it is not facilitating the placement of deposits per se.”
A similar analysis applies to communications companies (such as radio or television stations or Internet Web sites) that run advertisements for insured depository institutions. If the advertising platform is operated in a neutral manner, so that any insured depository institution could run advertisements, the FDIC would not treat the communications company as a deposit broker.