Level 1 - Definitely NGMI
Friendly neighborhood former bank regulator here:
It makes me laugh so hard to think about all the SMR conversations I had with CFOs and CEOs about simulating +400 bps interest rate shocks over 1 yr and the impact to their balance sheets only to hear "rates don't move like that anymore". Cursory looks at UBPRs tell a gruesome story. Next 5-10 years the wave of failures/consolidation will be interesting to watch
It is criminal that companies manage their capital poorly.
Share price way up and earnings up? Buy back shares
Share price down and cashflow bad? Issue shares
We know why (got to max out those RSUs & options when the going is good). But watching it happen in real time over and over is maddening.
One of our employers bought back a ton of cheap, long debt and was buying massive shares pre-Covid. Then stopped the buyback during Covid when stock was down 60%. And just put out a ton of debt at +5% of what it brought back. Destroying value on volatility.
Hilarious. If they lower rates you’re right back to high velocity and crazy inflation. If you keep rates high, you’re printing to bail out the banks. No matter what it’s inflation. Thanks for playing.
Wow this post hits hard. To fight inflation you want to suck money out of the system. To suck money out of the system you make sure credit is tight and or crash the stock/bond market. Failing banks can do both at the same time. If I’m Powell and what inflation to go down fast I crash the right banks asap, big but not too big.
Many are missing some key points. First, FRC is not a small bank or even regional bank. It is $200bn. Vast majority of banks in US are sub $1bn and privately owned.
Most small banks were not being greedy or taking “excessive” risk to make money off the backs of depositors. Interest rates have been artificially low for 10+ years. It has been a difficult operating environment for banks and, yes, many banks took more interest rate risk than they should have to generate earnings. But investing in US Treasuries or muni bonds at 3% to make a spread is not an inherently “risky” endeavor unless there is a damn run on the bank! The Fed raised rates faster than banks could anticipate and many were caught out of position.
Funny thing is bankers have been concerned about this issue for over a year now. Banks could move deposit rates up enough after so many years of zero rates. The general public is waking up to it this past week when it has been front and center at every ALCO meeting of banks for the past year. Regulators haven’t been worried about it at all either. Because it does not rise to the forefront until there is depositor flight. And 5% rates seemed to finally break the system.
All that is going to change (assuming small banks survive). Duration risk will become something banks and regulators pay far more attention to. Level of uninsured depositors is going to matter more. Relationships and core “sticky” deposits will matter more. Banks will pull back on lending and shrink their balance sheets...recession imminent. The 30yr mortgage might get abolished. Banks will hold higher capital. FDIC might insure all deposits, but banking will become a much harder business. Consolidation will increase more than ever in the industry. Fun times!
Not to mention, it’s about damn time there are some credit issues at banks. You will start hearing more about nonperforming loans and credit quality issues. There hasn’t been a bad loan made in 10 years, which is unnerving.
Not looking so good on this side of the fence, so good to know the jungle is staying prepared!
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hindsight 20/20, what would have been a good move for these regional banks?
Was it possible to sell these 3% mortgages off immediately and keep 1% for themselves? i.e. package and sell them with a 2% yield to a pension fund or other institutional investor and keep 1%?
or was that still too risky for the institutional investors, even back then in a 0% environment?
The banks were making a 1% origination fee on each mortgage too.
Where can I find the full WSP archive please?
Is there a chance these events affect banker psychology for a while? For example instead of offering 3% rates when interest rates are near zero they make them significantly higher to protect against the possibility of rate hikes catching them with their pants down again?
Strange question: I have an unused PLOC with FRC with interest rate locked in at ~3.95%. Is there any logic in drawing that down and doing something productive with it before they implode? Unless I'm missing an unseen downside, feels low risk to draw it down, buy treasuries at ~4.5%, and pocket the spread?