Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday federal regulators are willing to extend the same financial assistance—perhaps even extended deposit insurance—to mid-sized banks struggling to handle the fallout from the failures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank.
Yellen, in remarks before the American Bankers Association, said similar intervention regulators offered the two failed banks “could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.”
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured all $264 billion in combined deposits at SVB and Signature Bank, despite nearly 90 percent of the funds being in high-value accounts with balances above the agency’s $250,000 limit. The FDIC also offered loans to struggling banks to help them avoid selling off Treasury notes and mortgage-backed securities at a loss to fully fund withdrawal requests by depositors.
“I believe that our actions reduced the risk of further bank failures that would have imposed losses on the Deposit Insurance Fund, which is paid for through fees on insured banks,” Yellen said.
“The situation is stabilizing. And the U.S. banking system remains sound,” she continued. “… Aggregate deposit outflows from regional banks have stabilized.”
Beyond the closures of SVB and Signature Bank, Credit Suisse announced a merger with larger Swiss bank UBS and San Francisco-based First Republic Bank received a $30 billion lifeline from 11 large U.S. banks. Both financial institutions were struggling with bank runs as depositors sought to move their money to larger banks with more financial stability.
Other mid-sized banks that have seen their stock prices plummet and have had trading temporarily halted since SVB and Signature Bank failed include PacWest Bancorp, based in Beverly Hills, Calif.; Regions Financial Corp. of Birmingham, Ala.; and Zions Bancorporation of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Federal regulators continue to make moves to shore up SVB and Signature Bank.
On Sunday, the FDIC announced New York Community Bancorp would purchase all deposits and some loan portfolios of Signature Bank. The cost of the Signature Bank failure to the Deposit Insurance Fund was approximately $2.5 billion, according to the agency.
On Monday, the agency announced the search for a buyer for SVB’s assets would be extended to later in the week.
“A safe and sound banking system is integral to the health of the American economy. We are squarely focused on doing our job,” Yellen said. “And you should rest assured that we will remain vigilant.”
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