So, the Biden Administration made a horrible error by guaranteeing deposits at Silicon Valley Bank for deposits over $250,000. Essentially, Biden bailed out big tech that kept their deposits at SVB.
But what triggered the run on SVB and other banks? Simple. Biden and Congress spent like drunken sailors with Covid and The Federal Reserve went nuts printing money. Viola! We got inflation. But with inflation came The Fed’s attempt to get inflation back to its 2% target (difficult since Biden/Congress refuse to return spending to pre-Covid levels). But as interest rates rise, duration (weighted average life of MBS) rose dramatically meaning that risk increased. But banks like SVP ignored the risk, or didn’t hedge, or were spending time worrying about non-bank related issues.
So, what happened? Banks are holding Treasuries and MBS (orange line) that are getting clobbered with rate hikes (yellow line).
Talk about volatility. Today, the 2-year Treasury yield is up over 20 basis points as bond volatility hits levels last seen in 2008, just prior to the subprime credit crisis.
So, Biden’s bailout of SVP depositors stopped the deposit run for the moment. But if The Fed keeps hiking rates, banks are going to be hurting worse and worse. They could rebalance their portfolios and/or hedge. But with Uncle Spam (Biden) at the helm, bailouts are always on the table.