US consumer bankers tighten monitoring, processes as industry reels
By Nupur Anand and Tatiana Bautzer
Las Vegas, March 29 (Reuters) -Consumer and mid-sized banks are planning to monitor their internal processes more closely and hold more frequent discussions with regulators as the industry tries to move forward from weeks of turmoil, industry executives say.
Industry leaders were taking stock after the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and trying to differentiate solid institutions from troubled ones, executives said at a conference in Las Vegas.
"There is definitely optimism among bankers despite the last few weeks, but they are not turning a blind eye to what has happened," Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) CEO Lindsey Johnson told Reuters at the conference, which ends on Wednesday.
"We are still taking stock of what happened and making sure that we're prepared for what's to come and helping consumers work through that," said Johnson, whose industry association has 73 member banks that held more than in $15 trillion in assets as of 2021.
She spoke as senior executives from regional and mid-sized U.S. banks gathered alongside regulators for the association's annual conference this week.
The general view was that the recent bank collapses were "isolated events and unlikely to spread", said an executive from a large lender who declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
"This feels very different from the 2008 crisis and is certainly not as dramatic," the executive said.
Mid-sized U.S. lenders said they are trying to hang onto customer deposits by paying better rates and tweaking some of their existing strategies after the recent bank failures triggered a $119 billion exodus from small institutions.
Regulators also drew attention to the need for managing risks at non-banks similar to banks. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra said regulators were focused on maintaining stability of the financial system.
The collapse of SVB and Signature Bank, which was later bought by a subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, shook public confidence in banks and prompted unprecedented government action to shore up the sector. A broader S&P index of bank shares has fallen 14% this year.
However bank stocks edged higher on Tuesday for a second consecutive day after U.S. regulators said they would backstop a deal for regional lender First Citizens BancShares to acquire failed Silicon Valley Bank.
In recent weeks, President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and industry executives have made public statements aimed at reassuring depositors.
"The banking system is pretty sound," and large and regional banks are well-capitalized, Citigroup Inc C.N CEO Jane Fraser said last week.
Even after the attempts to shore up confidence, Biden said on Tuesday that the banking crisis was "not over yet".
Reporting by Nupur Anand and Tatiana Bautzer in Las Vegas; Editing by Lananh Nguyen, Megan Davies and Sonali Paul
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