Governments of all shapes and sizes typically entrust depositories (aka: banks) with millions of dollars in checking accounts, savings accounts, and certificates of deposit. The safety of public funds is paramount—so much so that government entities generally are required to protect their deposits through insurance, collateralization, or other means.
In 2019, the State of Georgia passed a law (O.C.G.A. § 45-8-14.1) to allow “any third-party service provider (to facilitate) the placement of deposits in accordance with this Code.”
What does the law in Georgia mean for public entities (such as local governments like ours) and banks who do business in Georgia?
- Through one bank relationship, public entities may now place large deposits through services that offer access to multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance; deposits may be placed into demand deposit accounts, money market deposit accounts, and CDs.
- Access to FDIC insurance on deposits placed through such services eliminates the need for ongoing collateralization—a benefit for both the public entity and the bank. Banks can repurpose collateral which reduces collateral-tracking burdens and associated costs (and may result in the bank’s willingness to provide higher interest rates).
- Public entities may earn returns that often compare favorably to Treasuries and money market alternatives.
As a result of this law, the city does not require our bank to collateralize city deposits, as it would be very burdensome for staff to continually monitor whether the pledged assets maintained sufficient value to cover the full value of our deposits. Instead, we use an insured cash sweep service which provides access to the Full Faith and Credit of the U.S. Government through FDIC Insurance. This is done through a deposit placement agreement with our banking institution (Oconee State Bank) which enables them to “sweep” or place funds (not to exceed the standard maximum deposit insurance amount of $250,000) at the end of each business day with other FDIC insured banking institutions; thus, protecting taxpayer funds by giving us access to multi-million-dollar FDIC insurance protection while also earning interest.