By Steve Gelsi
Big U.S. banks face a challenging environment for office-space loans but the situation is expected to remain manageable for lenders over time, Citi analyst Keith Horowitz said Monday in a summary of a recent industry event hosted by the bank.
Citigroup Inc.'s (C) 2023 Beyond the Basics conference highlighted office space as "the primary pain point" in commercial real estate as bankers gathered from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Bank of America Corp. (BAC), PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC), Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC), as well as Tradeweb Markets Inc. (TW).
Topics of interest included asset and wealth management, bank technology, capital markets, commercial real estate, deposits and the regulatory landscape.
PNC's presentation highlighted office spaces as "the primary area of stress while the rest of the portfolio is generally performing in line with expectations for a slowing economy," Horowitz said in his summary of the event.
Securitized mortgage data provider Trepp shared similar findings after its analysis of public and non-public data, he said.
The takeaway from PNC and Trepp's presentations is the belief that "losses will be manageable and more of a 'slow leak' than a crash," Horowitz said.
While bank deposits have been in the spotlight since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, bank deposits overall remain relatively sticky, according to presenters at the Citi event.
Deposit rates are likely to move higher than expected, Horowitz said, while citing remarks from Curinos, which is an adviser to financial institutions.
About 60% of the money in consumer savings is still parked in savings accounts earning less than 0.25% interest.
Given this data point, banks no longer appear to be facing a shortage of cash to cover withdrawals, Horowitz said.
"The likely headwind for banks has now shifted from navigating a potential liquidity crunch to navigating a tougher profitability environment," Horowitz said.
Down the road, banks are also facing updated international banking guidelines under the Basel 4 proposals, now expected to be implemented in early 2025. More clarity is expected over the summer on potential Basel 4 requirements such as trading book reviews and revisions to standardized credit and operational risk regulations.
Presentations from Bank of America and Wells Fargo focused on their use of technology and digital banking products.
"Bank of America shared the importance of having a strong digital offering as many of their consumers' entire experience is through digital platforms; however, the philosophy remains that client needs to drive the tech strategy rather than 'chasing tech for tech's sake,'" Horowitz said. "Wells Fargo shared similar messaging as [it] strives to be a 'digital first, but not digital only' bank."
Shares of banks have been under pressure in 2023 after bank deposit runs forced the closure of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic Bank and shook confidence in the sector.
The Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF) is down 6.1% in 2023, compared to a 9.5% gain by the S&P 500 and a 0.2% year-to-date loss by the Dow Jones Industrial Average . Among individual stocks, Bank of America is down 14.5% in 2023, while Wells Fargo is lower by 0.2%, Goldman Sachs is down 3.3%, Citi is down by 1.4% and PNC has fallen by 24.8%.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 30, 2023 08:49 ET (12:49 GMT)
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