Banking turmoil was not a crisis but ‘the downside risks are real,’ IIF boss warns

Tim Adams, CEO of the Institute of International Finance, said the turmoil in the banking sector was not a systemic crisis. A wave of market panic swept through Europe and the United States following the fall of Silicon Valley Bank in early March – the largest banking failure since the global financial crisis. A flight of shareholders and depositors ultimately led to the collapse of Credit Suisse, with Swiss authorities brokering an emergency rescue by UBS to save the 167-year-old institution. Regulators stateside closed the smaller Signature Bank, while Wall Street giants made deposits at First Republic worth $30 billion, giving the regional lender time to develop a survival strategy. Markets have stabilized, leading many to conclude that the problems were unique to the stricken banks and did not pose a systemic risk. However, the ripple effect has dented advanced economies’ economic outlooks.

Speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Adams said the March chaos was a “period of market turmoil or turbulence,” but dismissed the notion that it was a “crisis.” “We have over 4,000 banks in the United States, we have about 10,000 banks globally that are part of SWIFT, and 35,000 financial institutions around the world — 99.999% of them opened their doors over the past month and had no problems whatsoever — [it’s] really just a few isolated, idiosyncratic institutions.“ So I think it is not a crisis, I think it was market turbulence, it has subsided, it has stabilized, but we need to be vigilant, and we need to watch for other stresses in the system.”

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