Fed’s Kohn: Banks Need to Prepare for Higher Rates

Pretty clear warning. Read again WHEN THE FED STOPS THE MUSIC (II).

The Federal Reserve’s number-two official issued a stern warning to investors, banks and other financial institutions Friday: Don’t be complacent, interest rates are going up at some point and it will cause new market turmoil if you’re not prepared.

“We are in uncharted waters for monetary policy and the financial markets,”Donald Kohn, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in a speech to bankers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Rattling off a long list of uncertainties about the outlook – a rising budget deficit, foreign demand for U.S. debt, the strength of the recovery – Mr. Kohn said bankers need to start preparing now for the risk that interest rates could move swiftly in unexpected directions, most likely up.

“Many banks, thrifts, and credit unions may be exposed to an eventual increase in short-term interest rates,” he warned, adding that long-term interest rates could also be pushed higher, in part because large government borrowing to fund budget deficits could crowd out private borrowing. Foreign demand for U.S. debt could also narrow if countries with large trade surpluses shrink those surpluses and thus accumulate fewer dollars.(…)

Full WSJ article


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