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IPFS News Link • Central Banks/Banking

Speculation Intensifies Over US Banking Sector's Fate as Fed's BTFP Closure Looms

•, by Jamie Redman

Some argue that the banking turmoil is far from over, suggesting it has merely been postponed, with institutions like New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) and commercial real estate lenders floundering.

Uncertain Futures: U.S. Regional Banks Face New Challenges as BTFP Ends
Speculation abounds regarding the onset of the upcoming week, as Monday marks the conclusion of the U.S. central bank's BTFP. Anticipations of renewed chaos in the banking sector are high, harking back to the U.S. banking crisis witnessed in March 2023. During that period, the banking industry saw the collapse of its third, fourth, and fifth largest banks — First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Signature Bank.

A year has passed since then, and the Fed's federal funds rate has continued to hover at elevated levels, resulting in increased borrowing expenses, more stringent bank lending practices, and a decrease in asset values. Commercial real estate has been hit hard by a double-sided sword of high rates and trends like remote working and increased e-commerce that have greatly reduced the overall demand for office and retail spaces worldwide.

Regional banks, including New York Community Bancorp (NYCB), are grappling with these elevated interest rates, leading to a sharp decline in their stock values. Since last year, these banks have found some solace in the BTFP, established to offer an additional liquidity source for qualified, struggling entities. However, the Fed announced on Jan. 24, 2024, that the BTFP will stop issuing new loans as of March 11, 2024.

Yet, it also highlighted that "banks and other depository institutions will continue to have ready access to the discount window to meet liquidity needs." The conclusion of the BTFP has ignited widespread speculation, with conversations proliferating across the internet, including social media platforms and forums, as the BTFP deadline draws near. For instance, the X account Financelot posted, "The Federal Reserve's emergency Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), which is keeping regional banks afloat, ends on Monday."