“The banking system is sound and resilient.”
That’s what the Federal Reserve’s press release on Wednesday said in the statement announcing another 25 basis point interest rate hike.
Sound and resilient.
A few hours later, multiple media sources reported that PacWest Bank is exploring strategic options, including a possible sale.
Is PacWest the Next to Fail?
Shares of PacWest stock were already down about 80% since February. After the news hit, the stock took another 50% nosedive.
In fact, since January 1st, its share price has tanked – having fallen from $22.95 to a new 52-week low of $3.17 as of yesterday’s market close.
Bloomberg’s Joe Wiesenthal noted in his Thursday column that “overall, the ‘banking system’ may be sound and resilient, but there's clearly anxiety surrounding individual banks that hasn't gone away.”
PacWest sank over 50% in early trading and was halted multiple times because of volatility.
At the same time, Tennessee-based First Horizon Bank also fell 33% after the regional lender and TD Bank announced that they were terminating their merger agreement.
The banks jointly said that the move was because of uncertainty around when (not if) TD would receive regulatory approval for the deal and was not related to First Horizon.
Other notable declines included a drop of 38% for Western Alliance and 12% for Zions Bancorp. The SIPDER S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) was down more than 5%.
Western Alliance’s fall came despite the company advising Wednesday evening that deposits have grown since the end of March.
KBW CEO Tom Michaud said, “That hasn’t taken the heat off of the stock, or the bond prices. Investors are very nervous.
“And I think what they’re nervous about is the fact that Silicon Valley lost 75% of their deposits in 36 hours. There’s not a bank in the world that could really sustain that.”