US sees bank deposits stabilise even as some regional banks reel

Deposits in the country’s banking system are stabilising, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed US official.

A Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, the US.
Many of the regional banks in the United States have said their deposits have stabilised [File: Bloomberg]

A United States official has said that the deposit outflows that left many regional banks reeling in the wake of Silicon Valley Bank’s failure had slowed and in some cases reversed, even as investors were trying to ascertain whether the crisis was contained.

Shares of regional banks such as First Republic Bank, PacWest Bancorp and Western Alliance Bancorp have plunged since the banking crisis started on March 8 with the collapse of Silvergate Capital Corp and intensified as US regulators took over Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency on Sunday that deposits in the country’s banking system were stabilising and that US banks had limited exposure to Credit Suisse Group AG, the Swiss lender that teetered before larger peer UBS Group AG agreed to acquire it on Sunday.

Many of the regional banks have also said that their deposit base has stabilised. However, some of them, including First Republic and PacWest, have been seeking to raise capital privately but have been unsuccessful thus far, amid concerns from peers and private equity firms about potential losses in their investment portfolios and loan books, Reuters has reported citing unnamed sources.

“The regional banks have come under pressure because they are less equipped to handle a withdrawal of deposits the way the big banks are,” said Marc Chandler, New York-based chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex.

In a move of solidarity, most of the major banks agreed on Thursday to deposit $30bn in First Republic. Yet, in a blow to the bank’s financial outlook on Sunday, S&P Global downgraded First Republic’s credit rating deeper into junk territory and warned that another downgrade was possible, citing the effect of deposit outflows.

Sources said on Sunday that First Republic was still trying to put together a capital raise but that no deal was imminent. Its customers have pulled some $70bn in deposits, almost 40 percent of its total, The Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the matter. But the withdrawals stabilised Friday.

First Republic said in a statement it was “well positioned to manage short-term deposit activity”.

Limited progress

At least four US legislators said on Sunday they would consider whether a higher federal insurance limit on bank deposits than the current $250,000 threshold was needed to inspire more confidence in the system.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who helped rescue some banks during the 2008 financial crisis, has held discussions with senior US officials about the banking crisis, a source said on Saturday. Buffett has yet to prop up any of the regional banks.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the US regulator that took over Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, made some progress on Sunday in returning one of them to the private sector.

It said New York Community Bancorp would buy deposits, loans and 40 branches from Signature Bank. New York Community will buy $12.9bn of loans at a discount of $2.7bn. The FDIC estimated the deal would cost its Deposit Insurance Fund approximately $2.5bn, highlighting the government backstop that was needed to clinch the deal.

The FDIC failed, however, in its effort to find a buyer for the entirety of Silicon Valley Bank this weekend and will now seek new bids for parts of the bank on Wednesday and Friday, sources told Reuters.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters