In short, yes, TIAA Direct deposit accounts are FDIC insured up to the FDIC limits. I think most readers understand this, but I have received a few emails asking about this. Thus, I thought it would be useful for me to write a post describing why this is the case.
There were similar worries last year with UFB Direct. The complication is when a bank creates an internet division. Readers learned last year with UFB Direct that FDIC representatives were unable to confirm the divisions of a bank. So if you search for TIAA Direct at the FDIC website or if you ask about TIAA Direct when calling the FDIC (877-ASK-FDIC), you may not be able to confirm that TIAA Direct deposits are FDIC insured.
To learn how to verify an internet bank is part of an FDIC-insured bank, please refer to my post, Verifying Your Internet Bank Deposits are FDIC Insured. TIAA Direct is actually easier to confirm than UFB Direct. Here's why I feel confident that deposits at TIAA Direct are FDIC insured up to the typical FDIC limits:
First, here's what is stated at TIAA Direct's FAQs:
Are High Yield Savings and Money Market accounts FDIC-insured?
Deposits at TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per depositor. Learn more about FDIC Insurance.
You always have to be a little careful with anything you read on the web. Anyone can create a website and say anything they want, and it's easy for anyone to create what seems to be a professional website. So it's important to confirm the web address. You can do this using the FDIC Bank Find tool.
Search for TIAA-CREF in the FDIC Bank Find tool, and it should show you its summary of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB. In this summary there's a website address of www.tiaa-cref.org. Here's the direct link to this summary.
I can't find any mention of TIAA Direct at www.tiaa-cref.org. I'm not sure why TIAA-CREF has been so silent about its new internet bank. However, TIAA Direct is located under www.tiaa-cref.org at www.tiaa-cref.org/banking. There's also a tiaadirect.com web address, but if you click on the "apply now" button, it will direct you to a page under tiaa-cref.org. In summary, I feel confident that the TIAA Direct website is legitimate and controlled by TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB.
For more info on TIAA Direct, please refer to my Update on TIAA Direct and Its Savings Account. As I described in this post, TIAA Direct is still unable to add POD beneficiaries to accounts. They claim they are working to fix this.