Remarkably, three of the largest bank failures in U.S. history occurred in the year's first five months. First Republic, Silicon Valley, and Signature Bank had a combined asset value at the time of their failures of $556 billion. First Republic, which was taken over by J.P. Morgan on Monday, was just slightly smaller than Washington Mutual, which was also taken over by J.P. Morgan during the 2008 financial crisis. With more bank failures likely, we are fielding questions about how to protect checking balances above the SIPC limit of $250,000 and how to invest during such strenuous periods prudently.
As always, the answer is to use what the current market environment offers and allocate investments to a combination of secure assets and businesses that benefit from the failure of others. For cash management, a 3-month treasury bill pays 5.15% today and has the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government backing it. That’s much more attractive than low-yielding checking accounts. Additionally, the number of banks is shrinking and those that remain will be much more profitable. Determining the long-term winners is what we do here at Warcap and we are adding exposure to those names.
Realize that markets are always facing some sort of uncertainty, be it bank failures, covid, recessions, or federal budget standoffs. The key is to peer past the headlines and look for opportunities. Banks that foolishly bought long-term government bonds in 2021, at the start of an obvious rate-hiking cycle, are paying the price. Competitors that didn’t are winning as shown in their recent earnings reports. There is opportunity in every market, and we strive to have our clients always benefit by looking past the headlines.
As always, I appreciate your continued trust and confidence.