Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday told a Senate panel that the U.S. economic program is on strong footing following the second- and third-biggest bank collapses in the nation’s history.
Her remarks come just after a bank run on Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank forced federal regulators to close the banks and defend all deposits in an work to preserve public self-confidence in the U.S. banking program.
“I can reassure the members of the committee that our banking program is sound, and that Americans can really feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need to have them,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee. “This week’s actions demonstrate our resolute commitment to make certain that our economic program remains robust and the depositors’ savings stay protected.”
Regulators ensured that the banks’ customers got their deposits back applying a fund paid for by costs on banks. The Fed, meanwhile, launched an emergency lending plan to enable banks climate a surge in withdrawals. Yellen noted Thursday that the unprecedented action did not defend shareholders.
SVB faced enormous unrealized losses on its extended-term treasury bond investments due to the Federal Reserve’s interest price hikes. The bank’s tech sector and venture capital customers rushed to withdraw their funds when it became clear SVB faced the threat of insolvency.
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When pressed by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the committee’s ranking member, Yellen acknowledged that interest price hikes forced SVB to sell big amounts of assets at a loss, but didn’t say that the U.S. economic program faces a broader liquidity crisis.
The international economy is staring down warning indicators following the bank failures. Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse faces liquidity challenges, when Moody’s is weighing downgrading the credit rating of six regional U.S. banks.
Quick-term treasury yields plummeted earlier this week as investors flocked to safer assets. The ICE BofA MOVE index, which measures bond marketplace volatility, has risen to its highest level considering that the 2008 economic crisis.
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