Fears that the U.S. banking crisis could go global widened early Tuesday as lending giant Credit Suisse shares plunged on news its delayed annual report found “material weaknesses” in its balance sheet over the last two years.
Shares in the Zurich-based international financial giant dropped nearly 5% to an all-time low in pre-market trading after the report released on Tuesday acknowledged its biggest annual loss since the 2008 financial crisis and said customer withdrawals surged beginning in the fourth quarter of last year. Bank stocks have been hammered since last week’s collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the smaller, New York-based Signature Bank.
“My prediction, I called Lehman Brothers years ago, and I think the next bank to go is Credit Suisse because the bond market is crashing,” investor Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best-selling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” told Fox Business Network Monday night.
The collapse of an institution as large as Credit Suisse, the world’s eighth-largest investment bank and a provider of the full range of private banking services, would be an earthquake.
In its annual report, the bank said its internal and disclosure controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2022 and 2021 were not effective. The report had been due last week, but was delayed following last-minute talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its cash-flow disclosures.
Credit Suisse Crashes To All Time Low After Boosting Deposit Rates To Reverse Bank Run https://t.co/mSEd50Ci2J
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) March 2, 2023
“The material weaknesses that have been identified relate to the failure to design and maintain an effective risk assessment process to identify and analyze the risk of material misstatements in its financial statements and the failure to design and maintain effective monitoring activities,” the bank said in a statement.
Although the bank insisted that withdrawals have slowed since it boosted interest rates for deposits, the statement spooked investors and could cause a run on deposits like the one that took down Silicon Valley Bank. However, Credit Suisse’s problems began long before the current banking crisis. The company’s stock price has dropped more than 80% since March 2021.
No bank can withstand a panic-driven run on deposits, because much of the money depositors in such a case demand is invested. In Silicon Valley Bank’s case, billions were invested in long-term U.S. Treasury bills and corporate bonds, which lost value as the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates in an effort to fight inflation.
Silicon Valley Bank had more than half of its assets invested in fixed-income securities, including U.S. government bonds. The value of those securities plunges if the bank has to sell them before maturity in order to pay back frightened depositors as Silicon Valley Bank was forced to do when customers tried to withdraw more than $40 billion last week.