Jamie Dimon Warns US Banking Crisis Will Be Felt for Years, Regulators Didn’t Stress Test Rate Hikes! (This One’s Gonna Hurt Us)

JPMorgan Chase’s Jaime Dimon is channeling country crooners Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt by warbling “This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time).”

Silicon Valley Bank’s blunders were encouraged by US regulation, went untested by the Federal Reserve and were “hiding in plain sight” until Wall Street and depositors grew alarmed.

That’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon’s assessment of the US banking crisis that sent markets careening last month, an episode he predicts is “not yet over” and will be felt for years. He said US authorities shouldn’t “overreact” with more rules.

In his wide-ranging annual letter to shareholders on Tuesday, Dimon described his firm’s aspirations for using artificial intelligence and ChatGPT, weighed in on geopolitics, and provided updates on JPMorgan’s activities in Ohio. This time, many of his sharpest remarks ripped at regulation, including capital rules that pushed banks to binge on low-interest assets that lost value as interest rates shot up.

“Ironically, banks were incented to own very safe government securities because they were considered highly liquid by regulators and carried very low capital requirements,” Dimon said. “Even worse,” he added, the Federal Reserve didn’t stress-test banks on what would happen as rates jumped.

When Silicon Valley Bank’s uninsured depositors realized it was losing money selling securities to keep up with withdrawal requests, they raced to pull their cash. Regulators then intervened and seized it.

Yes. Banking regulators were so focused on credit-exposure of banks (remember the subprime crisis of 2008?) that they really screwed up by having banks load-up on low credit-risk assets that usually have interest rate risk associated with them like Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS). What could go wrong?

What went wrong was that interest rates rose and unrealized losses on Treasuries and Agency MBS exploded.

Here is a chart of urealized losses on investment securities that banks have accumulated.

Apparently, The Fed and FDIC (and the myriad of Federal and State regulators) sit high on a mountain top and ignore interest rate risk.

The face of regulatory stupidity.