The fall of the Signature Bank: Everything you need to know

The fall of the Signature Bank

All deposits were moved to the recently established Signature Bridge Bank, N.A. when federal authorities shut down the bankrupt New York-based Signature Bank on March 12. Debit cards, ATMs, and check writing are all still available for depositors to utilise in order to access their funds as previously.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Treasury Department said in a joint statement the day the bank was shut down that all deposits at Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which failed two days earlier, would be insured.

The insured and uninsured deposits would not be guaranteed at the expense of taxpayers, according to regulators.

Following the failure of SVB, clients of Signature Bank withdrew billions of dollars, forcing the bank to close. Simultaneous with the deposit run, the bank’s shares had its worst one-day fall (of 23 percent) since becoming public in 2004 on March 10. As a result, that day’s trade was suspended due to volatility.

When authorities judged the failure of the two regional banks constituted a major danger to the whole U.S. banking system, the exceptional decision to cover both insured and uninsured money was made.

Signature’s Deposits and Loans Acquired by Flagstar Bank

On March 19, Flagstar Bank, a subsidiary of New York Community Bancorp, reached an agreement with federal regulators to acquire deposits and loans from Signature Bridge Bank, N.A. As of March 20, Signature’s 40 former branches will continue operations under Flagstar Bank during regular business hours, as announced by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

While Signature customers should continue to use their existing branch until they are notified of full-service banking availability at Flagstar branches. According to the FDIC announcement, all Signature depositors except those associated with the digital banking business will automatically become depositors of Flagstar Bank. The FDIC will directly provide these deposits to customers with accounts related to the digital banking business.

As part of the transaction, Flagstar Bank acquired approximately $38.4 billion of Signature Bridge Bank’s assets, which includes loans worth $12.9 billion that were acquired at a $2.7 billion discount, according to the statement.

The FDIC retains about $60 billion in loans that will be managed separately for later disposition. Signature Bank was closed by the FDIC on March 12, and its deposits were transferred to the newly created bridge bank, Signature Bridge Bank, N.A., where depositors could continue to access their funds using the same methods as before, such as debit cards, ATMs, and check writing.

Why did Signature Bank fail?

On March 12, regulators closed Signature Bank after depositors withdrew billions of dollars following the collapse of another regional bank, SVB, just two days earlier. The closure of Signature Bank marked the third-largest bank failure in the history of the United States. Its last day of public trading saw its stock price plummet.
According to the New York Department of Financial Services, Signature Bank had over $110 billion in assets and almost $89 billion in deposits as of the end of 2022. The FDIC was appointed as the bank’s receiver, and regulators cited the need to safeguard depositors as the reason for its closure.
Signature Bank was founded in 2001 and operated as a full-service financial institution with 40 branches spread across New York, Connecticut, California, Nevada, and North Carolina. Notably, it was one of the few banks to allow customers to deposit cryptocurrency assets, a business it ventured into in 2018.

Who is affected by Signature Bank’s failure?

After being seized by regulators on March 12, Signature Bank’s customer accounts were automatically transferred to the newly formed bridge bank, Signature Bridge Bank, which is operated by the FDIC. Depositors can continue to use the same checks, debit cards, and ATM cards as they did prior to the bank’s failure.

The failures of Signature Bank and SVB have raised concerns about the stability of the U.S. banking system and have led to significant losses in the market value of regional and big banks.

According to Mina Tadrus, CEO of Tampa-based investment management firm Tadrus Capital, consumer sentiment and behavior will likely be negatively affected by these failures. He predicts that investors may become less trusting of financial institutions and exercise more caution when choosing which ones to work with.

Signature Bank was known for working with crypto clients and real estate companies, with more than 80% of its deposits coming from middle-market businesses such as law firms, accounting practices, healthcare companies, manufacturing companies, and real estate management firms.

The bank had previously cut ties with former President Donald Trump, who had held checking accounts and received financing from the bank for various ventures. Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter, served on the bank’s board of directors from 2011 to 2013.

Is the government bailing out Signature Bank?

On March 12, regulators confirmed that both insured and uninsured deposits at Signature Bank would remain accessible to customers, similar to the case with SVB. However, more than $79 billion, equivalent to around 90 percent of deposits at Signature Bank, were not insured by the FDIC, as reported by The New York Times.

It’s worth noting that although the FDIC made exceptions with Signature and SVB, its regular policy is to insure up to $250,000 per depositor, per FDIC-insured bank, per ownership category. The FDIC is an autonomous government agency that gets its funding from its member banks, which pay fees to cover their customers’ deposits.

According to regulators and President Joe Biden, taxpayers will not bear the burden of deposit coverage, including both insured and uninsured deposits.

“No losses will be — this is an important point — no losses will be borne by the taxpayers,” Biden said in televised remarks on March 13. “Let me repeat that: No losses will be borne by the taxpayers. Instead, the money will come from the fees that banks pay into the Deposit Insurance Fund.”

According to regulators, any losses incurred by the Deposit Insurance Fund to cover uninsured depositors at Signature Bank and SVB would be recovered by a special assessment on banks, meaning that banks would be charged to replenish the fund.

Regulators also noted that parties who are not protected in the failure of the two banks include shareholders and some debtholders. However, President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen both emphasized that taxpayers would not be bearing any losses resulting from the bank failures.

Is my money safe in my bank?

That’s correct. It’s important for depositors to be aware of FDIC coverage limits and ensure that their deposits are within those limits to be fully protected.

The FDIC provides coverage per depositor, per ownership category, per FDIC-insured bank, so if you have deposits in different ownership categories (such as individual, joint, and trust accounts) at the same bank, each category is separately insured up to $250,000. If you have deposits at multiple banks, each bank is separately insured up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category.

The FDIC insures deposits in specific types of accounts, including savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, and money market deposit accounts.

However, other types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cryptocurrencies, are not insured by the FDIC. It is important to note that even if you have multiple accounts at the same bank, the total amount of your deposits may still be subject to the $250,000 coverage limit.

Therefore, if you have more than $250,000 in deposits, you may want to consider spreading your funds across multiple FDIC-insured banks to ensure full coverage.

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