The four largest US banks lost $52 billion in market value on Thursday after shares of SVB Financial, a major lender to the technology industry, fell 60 percent.
Shares in SVB Financial tumbled on Thursday after the bank announced in the evening that it had lost $1.8 billion in the sale of securities to raise funds.
SVB Bank Chief Executive Officer Greg Becker then tried to reassure customers about the bank’s financial health, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter. He urged them not to withdraw their deposits from the bank and not to spread fear or panic about its situation.
A large drop in the value of SVB Financial’s shares caused alarm in the financial sector, the largest American bank, JPMorgan Chase, ended trading on Thursday with a 5.4% drop. Bank of America and Wells Fargo each lost 6.2 percent, while Citigroup lost 4.1 percent.
Analysts said fears spread among investors that other banks could suffer similar losses as their bond portfolios were hit by rising interest rates.
“Theoretically, higher interest rates would be beneficial for the banking sector, as their net interest income would increase as they would start earning from deposits again,” said Swissquote bank analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya. “But the problem is that interest rates have risen too quickly,” she warned.
CFRA Research analyst Alexander Yokum believes that SVB’s problems can be attributed to its heavy involvement in venture capital and private equity. As interest rates have risen, those industries have struggled, Yokum said. As a result, increased asset withdrawals forced SVB to take measures for greater liquidity.
Spreading a bad mood
The bad mood also spread to the European financial sector, where Deutsche Bank suffered the biggest drop in share value. After today’s opening of the stock exchange in Frankfurt, the value of the shares of this German bank fell by 10 percent.
In London, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest lost up to five percent before paring losses. French bank Societe Generale lost more than five percent, while BNP Paribas lost more than three percent. Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse sank by more than four percent.
Tokyo-listed Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group lost more than six percent, while HSBC Bank in Hong Kong lost about three percent, as did National Australia Bank in Sydney.
In a further blow to the financial sector, cryptocurrency-focused bank Silvergate announced on Thursday that it plans to close. The bank opened its doors in 1988, and in 2013 began to focus on the field of digital currencies.
“Given recent changes in the industry and legislation, Silvergate believes that an orderly winding up of the bank and its voluntary liquidation is the best way forward,” Silvergate’s parent company, Silvergate Capital Corporation, said in a press release. At the same time, they explained that the plan for the termination of operations and liquidation of the bank includes full repayment of all deposits.