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Mar 27, 2023
Fed’s Barr to Reassure Congress on ‘Sound and Resilient’ Banks
(Bloomberg) -- A top Federal Reserve official defended regulators’ actions amid the bank turmoil and said the system is “sound and resilient.”
“We will continue to closely monitor conditions in the banking system and are prepared to use all of our tools for any size institution, as needed, to keep the system safe and sound,” said Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr in prepared remarks for a Senate Banking committee hearing on Tuesday.
Barr is leading a review of what led to Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse. He called the bank’s failure a “textbook case of mismanagement.” He pointed to its significant asset and deposit growth, along with a concentrated business model, which catered to tech and venture-capital firms.
“The bank invested the proceeds of these deposits in longer-term securities, to boost yield and increase its profits,” he said. “However, the bank did not effectively manage the interest rate risk of those securities or develop effective interest rate risk measurement tools, models, and metrics.”
The bank also didn’t manage the risks of its liabilities, he said.
Barr said SVB waited too long to tackle its issues, and when it did, “ironically, the overdue actions it finally took to strengthen its balance sheet sparked the uninsured depositor run that led to the bank’s failure.”
Barr said “the events of the last few weeks raise questions about evolving risks and what more can and should be done so that isolated banking problems do not undermine confidence in healthy banks and threaten the stability of the banking system as a whole.”
He’s also scheduled to testify this week before the House Financial Services Committee.
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