With short-term interest rates at historic lows, keeping large amounts of money in the bank doesn't seem the most attractive option for investors. Yet even as rates have fallen to 0.3% for six-month CDs this year from just under 5% at the end of 2007, insured bank deposits have risen steadily, says Todd DellaCamera, a managing director at Invictus Consulting Group, a firm that does stress-testing for banks.

This year, total insured deposits at U.S. banks totaled $6.5 trillion at the end of the second quarter, up more than $1 trillion from the same period in 2010, and up from $4.3 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to FDIC data. True, in 2010, a temporary law from 2008 that raised the insured deposit limit to $250,000 from $100,000 became permanent, but that change by itself doesn't explain the rise in insured deposits, DellaCamera says. Overall deposits - including uninsured - rose as well in the last several years, to $9.8 trillion at the end of the second quarter, from $8.4 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2007.

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