B anks are a special type of organisation. They take deposits and lend these funds to borrowers over long periods. It is pretty remarkable when you think about it. Banks make loans over many years, but you and I can withdraw the savings that banks use to fund the loans instantly.
For banks to operate this franchise model profitably, they essentially rely on two ingredients. First, they need to earn a profit by charging higher interest on long-term loans than they pay on short-term deposits. This model has come under severe strain in recent years. Owing to high inflation now and lower expected inflation in the next few years, many banks currently pay more for deposits and other funds than they earn on long-term loans and other assets. This makes the traditional banking model loss-making and raises questions about what the assets of some banks are worth if they had to be sold now.
Second, trust in the viability of a bank is vital. Banks are inherently unstable due to the mismatch in the duration of loans and deposits. They cannot liquidate their long-term assets quickly enough when many depositors withdraw at once. Even safe banks, with ample liquidity and capital, risk collapse when trust evaporates and depositors withdraw en masse.
It is important to remember that Credit Suisse is subject to more stringent regulations and oversight than other banks. Silicon Valley Bank was compliant with liquidity and capital regulations. In fact, SVB was well capitalised compared with many of its peers. However, when trust in the solvency of a bank goes, its franchise may crumble quickly, and depositors at other banks start worrying about the safety of their deposits.
This is by no means a repeat of the 2008 crisis. Regulations ensuredRead more on theguardian.com