A Credit Update: Will Some Banks "Starve to Death"?

Chris Whalen, chairman of Whalen Global Advisors, returns to Real Vision to share with Real Vision managing editor Ed Harrison his strategic update on the U.S. banking system. Whalen argues that the biggest risk to banks is not credit risk but the Federal Reserve, which has compressed banks’ net interest margins and reduced their earnings power. Whalen notes that this greatest threat is for large banks, and he finds much to admire in resilient small banks such as Bank of the Ozarks ($OZK) or Fifth Third Bankcorp ($FITB), which occupy particular niches that allow them to command a much higher spread on their loans than their larger-sized competitors. Filmed on March 4, 2021.

Key learnings: Whalen argues that potential actions by the Federal Reserve such as yield curve control or “Operation Twist” pose a greater threat to banks as a whole than does credit risk. Whalen does, however, see looming problems in banks’ exposure to commercial credit such as leveraged loans and commercial real estate. Whalen thinks that consumer exposure, such as credit cards and residential mortgages will continue, to fare well.

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