Saved by the Fed.
Federal Reserve programs, estimated at $6 trillion after some $2 trillion in promised fiscal stimulus last week, have averted a Depression-era crisis for US banks, some analysts say.
But the enormous Fed sums may not be enough to fully cushion banks from a financial shock that was already building before the novel coronavirus pandemic worsened the outlook, one analyst warned.
Earlier this year, Odeon Capital analyst Dick Bove was predicting bank earnings could tumble as much as 90 percent on soaring loan losses.
That doomsday scenario has now been rebuffed by the Fed, he said. But it may not stop the bleeding ink, Bove said, adding that much will depend on the health of lending portfolios.
In his latest worse-case scenario, he predicts US banks could see a 40 percent drop in earnings this year; regional banks a 50 percent drop, and credit card companies a 60 percent decline.
Still, Bove was heartened by the Fed’s actions. The massive monetary intervention shores up banks from disaster, eases lending restrictions and opens the money spigots for businesses and consumers, he said.
But some significant economic fallout is inevitable.
Not surprisingly, Mayra Rodriguez Valladares at MRV Associates said that in the current environment, banks may lay off staff as the economy worsens. “Many individuals and companies will not be able to pay back their loans and/or bonds,” she said.
Derek Horstmeyer, a professor at George Mason University School of Business, said America is grappling with an economic crisis as consumer spending plunges.
He warned that lending may contract as bankers balk at the risk.
“If this turns into a financial crisis where liquidity dries up,” he said, “then we are going to see 2008 crisis levels of panic.
“The Federal Reserve has pushed interest rates to zero, and just promised to buy all bonds and assets that anyone wants to sell,” he added. “This is basically their last tool to keep banks lending, and money circulating.”