Stocks have tumbled again on March 15, in both the U.S. and Europe, as fears mounted regarding the strength of the banking industry.
The globally connected bank Credit Suisse has been fighting problems for years. On March 15, its shares fell by more than 25% amid reports that its largest shareholder won’t pump more money into the Swiss lender.
The development prompted a pause in trading of the Swiss bank’s shares and the bank appealed to the Swiss National Bank for a show of support. The Swiss central bank expressed its readiness to pump liquidity into Credit Suisse should that be necessary.
In the U.S., fears have intensified about which bank may crack next. The U.S. experienced its second and third largest bank failures last week. Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were shut down by U.S. regulators over the weekend. The collapse prompted the U.S. government to intervene in hopes that it would boost confidence in the banking industry.
The U.S. government guaranteed that depositors at the two failed banks would have full access to their deposits.
The heaviest losses in the U.S. were concentrated on small and mid-size banks, as they are at risk of seeing their customers taking their money out en masse and depositing them in bigger banks.
Bank of America, the second largest bank in the U.S., brought in more than $15 billion in deposits as people moved their money to an institution that is viewed as too big to fail.
Much of the damage in the U.S. is seen as a consequence of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates very quickly and in a short time frame. While higher rates can tame inflation, they hurt the prices of bonds, stocks, and other investments.
SVB Financial Group, whose former subsidiary is the now defunct Silicon Valley Bank, is now exploring the option of bankruptcy protection as an option for selling its assets, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
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