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U.S. regional banks hit by deposit flight as clients seek higher returns

FILE PHOTO: A view of the Charles Schwab office location in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 15, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly


(Reuters) -Three major U.S. regional banks saw deposits fall in the first quarter as the industry’s biggest crisis in more than a decade prompted a flight of funds, with customers seeking better returns elsewhere.

Deposits at State Street Corp (NYSE:STT) and M&T Bank Corp (NYSE:MTB) fell 3% each, while those at Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) Corp shrank 11% from the prior quarter.

The results mark a mixed start to a busy week during which a number of regional lenders are expected to report their earnings and the impact from the crumbling of two banks last month.

Investors will also be parsing executive commentary for details on the economic impact from the Federal Reserve’s quantitative tightening, which has boosted income earned via lending but has, at the same time, fueled uncertainty.

Both Schwab and M&T Bank rode a surge in interest income to beat profit expectations, but custodian bank State Street fell short after an outflow of client funds hurt its fees.

Schwab, which was caught up in the crisis last month, also paused stock buybacks.

The company, however, moved to allay concerns about its financial strength. Its Chief Executive Officer Walter Bettinger addressed commentary about portfolios of debt securities held by banks, including Schwab, which are disclosed as unrealized losses in their earnings.

“I would certainly hope that by this point the short-driven speculation that we would find ourselves in a position where we would be forced to sell securities that have temporary paper losses has been put to bed,” Bettinger said on a conference call.

Schwab’s shares were up 3% at $52.30 in afternoon trading, after wild price swings earlier in the session.

M&T Bank shares were up nearly 6% at $123.70 while State Street stock plunged 11% to $70.98, dragging down peers Northern Trust Corp (NASDAQ:NTRS) and Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) Corp.



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