Analysts say US banks could suffer a massive flight of deposits if the Treasury goes ahead with a plan to restore cash balances by borrowing over a trillion dollars.
JPMorgan analysts estimate the US will need to borrow $1.1 trillion in short-dated Treasury bills by the end of the year, reports the Financial Times.
Analysts say the higher yields now expected on government debt will suck deposits out of US banks as customers become unsatisfied with the inferior returns offered by their savings accounts.
Gennadiy Goldberg, a strategist at TD Securities says,
“Everyone knows the flood is coming… Yields will move higher because of this flood. Treasury bills will cheapen further. And that will put pressure on banks.”
Gregory Peters, co-chief investment officer of PGIM Fixed Income, says that a flight of deposits and the subsequent rise in yields could force banks to offer more attractive rates on their customers’ savings accounts, which could put pressure on small lending firms.
“The rise in yields could force banks to raise their deposit rates.”
Doug Spratley, head of the cash management team at T Rowe Price, agrees that the Treasury’s plan to borrow trillions “could exacerbate stresses that were already on the banking system.”
According to stats compiled by the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) system, American banks have witnessed nearly $910 billion in deposit flight since May of 2023, as of the latest data from last month.
In May of last year, the amount of capital held by banks on behalf of depositors sat at $18.06 trillion, compared to just $17.28 trillion today.