Will rising interest rates ultimately hurt profits?
A decade after the 2008 financial crisis, U.S. banks are at an inflection point. They are posting record profits thanks to rising interest rates, reduced regulation and a lower federal tax bill. Nevertheless, financial institution share prices have been laggards because of investor concerns that the rising interest rates will lead to increased costs as banks compete for customers seeking higher returns on deposits. At the same time, higher interest rates are dissuading some borrowers from taking out new mortgages and other loans. Nonbank lenders are also winning away customers for mortgages and business loans from traditional banks. Eight years after adoption of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, which was aimed at preventing bank failures that require taxpayer bailouts, Congress and the Trump administration have begun rolling back some of the restrictions.
Key takeaways include:
The banking industry’s aggregate net income of $62 billion in the third quarter was $14 billion higher than in the same period of 2017.
The nation’s largest banks have grown substantially in the past decade, despite concerns during the financial crisis about large institutions creating a systemic risk to the entire economy.
A wave of bank consolidations swept the industry following the crisis, as smaller banks found it increasingly difficult to compete with their larger rivals.
Resources for Further Study
Bernanke, Ben S., “The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath,” Norton, 2015. The chairman of the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis explains his moves to provide easily available credit at a time when the international monetary system was on the verge of freezing up.
Geithner, Timothy, “Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises,” Crown, 2014. The Treasury secretary under President Barack Obama offers a close-up history of key points in the financial crisis.
Paulson, Henry M. Jr., “On the Brink: Inside the Race To Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System,” Business Plus, 2010. The former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury secretary under President George W, Bush, who played a central role in the early efforts to stop the financial crisis, explains the decision to allow Lehman Brothers to fail.
Sorkin, Andrew Ross, “Too Big to Fail,” Penguin Books, updated edition, 2010. A New York Times journalist’s history of the financial crisis with unparalleled access to many of the key players.
Bernanke, Ben S., Timothy F. Geithner and Henry M. Paulson Jr., “What We Need to Fight the Next Financial Crisis,” The New York Times, Sept. 7, 2018, http://tinyurl.com/
Hoban, Brennan, “The mortgage market risk no one’s talking about, plus a proposal to redesign the system,” Brookings Institution, March 8, 2018, http://tinyurl.com/
Phillips, Matt, “Wall Street Loves These Risky Loans. The Rest of Us Should Be Wary,” The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2018, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“Basel Committee on Banking Supervision: High-level summary of Basel III reforms,” Bank for International Settlements, December 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
“Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” Government Printing Office, July 21, 2010, http://tinyurl.com/
“Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” Congress.gov, 2018, http://tinyurl.com/
“A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
“Presidential Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System,” The White House, Feb. 3, 2017, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Eavis, Peter, “The Fed Is Relaxing Banking Rules. What Goodies Are the Banks Getting?” The New York Times, Oct. 31, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Imbert, Fred, “Trump and Republicans have ‘completely neglected’ oversight responsibilities, Rep Maxine Waters says,” CNBC, Nov. 27, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Sherman, Erik, “Scaling back Dodd-Frank is just the beginning of Trump’s run on deregulation,” NBC News, May 24, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Nonbank Mortgage Loans
“Non-bank firms are now big players in America’s mortgage market,” The Economist, Nov. 29, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Kim, You Suk, et al., “Mapping the boom in nonbank mortgage lending – and understanding the risks,” Brookings Institution, Sept. 10, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
Rexrode, Christina, “Retreat of Smaller Lenders Adds to Pressure on Housing,” The Wall Street Journal, updated Nov. 22, 2018, https://tinyurl.com/
399 Park Ave., New York, NY 10043
A leading financial institution that received the largest U.S. government bailout of any bank during the 2008 crisis.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
550 17th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20429
Federal agency that insures bank deposits and provides oversight of U.S. banks.
20th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20551
Central bank that sets benchmark interest rate and regulates U.S. banking system.
270 Park Ave., New York, NY 10017
The largest bank in the United States by assets.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
1500 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20220
Head of Treasury Department who is leading the Trump administration effort to overhaul bank regulations.
U.S. House Financial Services Committee
2129 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
House panel that is responsible for oversight of financial institutions and regulation.
U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Senate committee with oversight of financial institutions and regulation.