FDIC Bank Data API Available, Official Announcement Pending

The U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) looks to be reorienting its data architecture toward an API-enabled approach, yet official confirmation is as yet unavailable.

Despite this, a key resource — the FDIC’s BankFind search tool, which lets users confirm whether a specific bank has insured deposits made through its institution — is now accessible via API.

The FDIC is a central government authority that makes up part of the U.S. economy’s robustness and security. By insuring deposits made at banks and addressing risks to deposit insurance finds, the agency is able to provide a level of confidence and security in case a particular bank fails. Its online BankFind tool lets consumers and businesses check whether their own banks have deposit insurance with the FDIC, and therefore that all their own deposits are federally insured as well if anything happens.

It appears that in recent months, the FDIC has been rewriting the underlying architecture of the BankFind tool to enable data to be queried via API.

As yet, no documentation or official announcement has been made; however, it is possible to start querying the BankFind tool by resources, including:

While primarily the API could be used as a bank locator with instant details of banks operating in the U.S. and their branch locations, potentially the API could also be used:

  • To integrate with tools that help consumers select which banks to use
  • By financial institutions to draw on the additional supply of banking details stored by the FDIC (such as the net income data)
  • Programmatically by businesses to risk-assess banking partners for their projects

The approach shows that while APIs are gaining momentum across government departments, at times it is unclear whether new initiatives are drawing on the experience of some of the government’s thought leaders and available resources. For example, the "intrapreneurial" office of the Government Services Administration — 18F — has released a variety of resources to help government agencies document their APIs and alert developer communities to their existence. It would appear that if this is in train from the FDIC, it's not quite there yet and is still in the process of building its API architecture before it starts drawing on government expertise on how to document and promote its open API. In any case, it is available openly for any developer to begin tinkering with it, even if no official documentation or announcement has been made.

ProgrammableWeb has reached out to the FDIC for comment and will provide an update when the open API is announced.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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