U.S. Banks’ Bond Bonanza Pushed by Extraordinary Market Situations, Regulatory Choices


Whereas the banks didn’t present particulars on why they’re elevating the debt, analysts stated a confluence of financial and regulatory elements are driving the unprecedented money seize, underscoring the more and more difficult balancing act for Wall Avenue lenders because the financial system emerges from the pandemic stoop.

That financial rebound pushed by the vaccination roll-out and trillions of {dollars} of stimulus, mixed with ultra-low rates of interest, has made for wonderful borrowing situations on the heels of stellar first-quarter earnings.

After the U.S. Federal Reserve stated in March that it could elevate capital distribution curbs on banks that move its June stress exams, many additionally wish to have sufficient money readily available to maintain shareholders pleased with elevated inventory purchase backs.

“We’re going to purchase again a considerable quantity … as quickly as we will,” Financial institution of America Chief Govt Brian Moynihan advised analysts throughout the financial institution’s earnings name previous to the bond sale.

On Monday, Goldman introduced its personal plans to purchase again some most well-liked inventory.


Nevertheless it’s not all excellent news. Whereas the fire-hose of presidency stimulus gushing by the financial system flattered financial institution earnings, it has additionally diminished mortgage progress and induced deposits to surge. In flip, banks have needed to park these deposits with the Federal Reserve and in safe-haven property similar to U.S. Treasuries.

“These deposits are rising like loopy, however loans aren’t and customary fairness shouldn’t be, and that creates a significant issue for the banks,” stated Dick Bove, an analyst with Odeon Capital Group.

“I’ve by no means seen this occur earlier than.”

For some banks, these issues are regulatory. As of April 1, banks needed to resume holding further capital in opposition to Treasuries and Fed deposits after the central financial institution ended non permanent pandemic aid that had allowed lenders to exclude these property from a key capital calculation.

That “supplementary leverage ratio” (SLR) is an additional safeguard launched following the decade-ago monetary disaster that requires massive banks to carry money in opposition to property no matter their threat. With surging deposits, some banks could also be trying to elevate debt to make sure they function comfortably inside the ratio.

“It’s fairly possible that the debt issuance might have been partly pushed by the expiration of the SLR aid,” stated Gennadiy Goldberg, senior charges strategist with TD Securities.

Executives with each Goldman and Financial institution of America advised analysts on first-quarter earnings calls they nonetheless had room to function earlier than reaching the leverage ratio threshold.

Morgan Stanley’s debt providing was not pushed by regulatory constraints, in keeping with an individual aware of the matter. The Fed declined to remark.

JPMorgan, for its half, issued the bonds partially to deal with regulatory constraints, in keeping with one particular person aware of the matter. On its earnings name, the financial institution’s executives flagged that deposit progress had elevated its leverage, prompting Chief Monetary Officer Jennifer Piepszak to criticize the foundations.

“Elevating capital in opposition to deposits and/or turning away deposits are unnatural actions for banks, and can’t be good for the system in the long term.”

(Reporting by Pete Schroeder; extra reporting by Megan Davies; enhancing by Michelle Worth and Nick Zieminski)

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