Jerome Powell, US Federal Reserve Chairman on Wednesday assuring the stakeholders stated that the US banking system remains “sound and resilient” after the failure of the second-and third-largest bank in the nation’s history.
At a press conference following the latest Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting, Powell said the central bank was vigilant about a change in the availability of credit for consumers and businesses.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unanimously approved a 25 basis point interest rate hike on Wednesday, but its projections called for just one more hike over the rest of the year. Even financial analysts warned that higher rates contributed to bank failures by hurting the value of long-term assets held by financial institutions.
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Powell said during the press conference that the committee considered pausing rate hikes, but concluded that another increase was needed to address higher-than-expected inflation data. Prices rose 6% annually in February, according to Labor Department data.
Silicon Valley Bank’s management “failed badly” in managing its interest rate risks, while other banks have managed to handle the hikes. “They grew the bank very quickly, they exposed the bank to significant liquidity risk and interest rate risk, they didn’t hedge that risk,” Powell said.
Powell added that their supervisors identified the bank’s issues, but weren’t able to prevent the bank’s failure. “We are committed to learning lessons from this episode, and to work to prevent events like this from happening again.”
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The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has led the Federal Reserve to strengthen its supervisory and regulatory role over banks. The Fed is conducting an internal review of potential regulatory issues around SVB, led by Michael Barr, Vice Chairman for Supervision. Powell said he expects investigations from outside the central bank as well.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told bankers on Tuesday that the situation was “stabilizing.” She said that regional banks were seeing lower outflows after the Fed injected money into the banking system.