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Are PacWest And Western Alliance The Next 2 Dominoes To Fall?

Things weren’t supposed to move this quickly. Just hours after First Republic was dissected, two more major banks are in very serious trouble.

Are the dominoes going to start to fall more quickly than we were anticipating? After his bank gobbled up First Republic, Jamie Dimon told the world that “this part of the crisis is over”, and many in the corporate media believed him. Unfortunately, Wall Street is not buying it. On Tuesday, “fears around contagion in the regional banking sector” pushed stock prices significantly lower…

Stocks tumbled on Tuesday as traders’ fears around contagion in the regional banking sector returned ahead of the Federal Reserve’s rate decision. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 367.17 points, or 1.08%, to end at 33,684.53. The S&P 500 slid 1.16% and closed at 4,119.58. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.08%, ending the session at 12,080.51. The three major averages fell for a second consecutive session.

Many regional banks got hit really hard, and that includes two institutions that analysts have already been watching very closely…

Regional bank stocks fell sharply Tuesday as the fallout from the third major bank failure this year continued to put pressure on the sector. Shares of PacWest fell nearly 28% on Tuesday and was on track for its fourth-straight negative session. The stock was halted for volatility multiple times. The California-based bank was not the only regional lender under pressure. Shares of Western Alliance dropped 15%.

If they have to halt trading for a particular stock several times in a single day, that is a really bad sign.

Like First Republic, PacWest and Western Alliance both experienced tremendous deposit outflows as a result of the bank runs that happened during the first quarter…

PacWest and Western Alliance were also among the financial institutions, along with First Republic, that came under intense scrutiny following the March 10 and March 12 failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. Both lenders, like First Republic, lost a sizable amount of deposits during the first quarter as customers sought the perceived safety of larger banks or higher yields being offered by money market funds. PacWest, a lender based in Beverly Hills, Calif., lost 17% of its deposits and Phoenix-based Western Alliance lost 11%, while First Republic lost 41%.

Both institutions are now highly vulnerable, and as Dick Bove has aptly noted, those that have made massive amounts of money from recent bank failures are searching for their next victim…

“People made a huge amount of money,” he said. “Those people who have driven SVB out of business, who benefitted from the Signature failure, who benefitted from the First Republic slow die, they made a lot of money. “They are looking around to find another target.”

Of course PacWest and Western Alliance are not the only potential targets.

In fact, one news source is claiming that “half of America’s bank are potentially insolvent” at this point.

We really are in the early stages of the next major financial crisis.

And could it be possible that even some of our largest financial institutions are starting to show signs of trouble?

Earlier today, I was quite alarmed to learn that Morgan Stanley is planning to eliminate approximately 3,000 jobs

Morgan Stanley is preparing a fresh round of job cuts amid a renewed focus on expenses as recession fears delay a rebound in dealmaking. Senior managers are discussing plans to eliminate about 3,000 jobs from the global workforce by the end of this quarter, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That would amount to roughly 5% of staff excluding financial advisers and personnel supporting them within the wealth management division.

The health of the banking industry is of great concern for all of us, because the banks are the core of our economic system.

Right now, banks are starting to get really tight with their lending, and so that is going to mean less money is available for consumers and businesses. At this stage, even the Washington Post is talking about how tight lending standards have become…

Janna Rodriguez has big goals for her home-based child-care center. She wants to grow Innovative Daycare to serve more low-income families in Freeport, N.Y., but first, she needs a bank to loan her between $2 million and $4 million to help her move into a larger space and expand her hours. So far, she keeps hearing “no.” Midsize banks near her in Long Island don’t want to take bets on the child-care industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic, Rodriguez said. She’s felt lenders pull back even more since the March shock to the banking system. If she can’t expand, she’ll have to consider shutting the business down because otherwise, she just can’t see getting by.

And this isn’t just happening in the United States.

According to Zero Hedge, global lending standards haven’t been this tight since the collapse of Lehman Brothers…

A composite measure of DM banks’ lending standards shows they are the tightest since 2009. Tighter credit conditions will be an impediment to central banks’ preference to keep rates “higher for longer.” The ECB’s bank lending survey was released this morning, with banks further tightening their credit standards. This has pushed an aggregate measure of bank-loan credit standards to levels not seen since the Lehman crisis.

When banks get into trouble, they don’t have an appetite for taking risks.

Sadly, it is likely that banks will be very hesitant to make loans for the foreseeable future.

So this will greatly depress economic activity.

In such an environment, it would be absolutely insane to raise interest rates, but that is what officials at the Fed have decided to do anyway.

What this means is that more dominoes will fall, and the crisis that we have entered will get a whole lot worse.

Let’s keep a close eye on PacWest and Western Alliance.

But they won’t be the only institutions that struggle for survival in the days ahead.

There is blood in the water, and the sharks are circling.


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