The Federal Open Market Committee’s decision to make two cuts to the federal funds rate during the third quarter was meant to help reduce the chance of the U.S. economy from slipping into recession, but it is a gloomy development for most banks. It means shorter-term loans that are indexed to short-term rates will reprice at lower rates, reducing lenders’ net interest income.
Most banks aren’t positioned to make up for the lost revenue with lower funding costs. Meanwhile, the bond market has anticipated further central-bank stimulus by pushing long-term interest rates down considerably, which hurts the banks.
President Trump continues to demand much lower interest rates, believing the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage to other developed economies. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Frederick Cannon listed the banks he expected to suffer the greatest earnings declines if the Fed’s new policy were taken to a logical extreme, with negative interest rates.
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