The Federal Reserve’s signal this week that it will start raising interest rates in March 2022 generated a collective high-five throughout the banking industry. Bankers have been poised and waiting for interest rates to rise as they are counting on reaping the rewards of an asset-sensitive balance sheet. However, without proper planning, the joy may be short-lived. The Fed news should give bankers even more reason to consider their asset/liability management (ALM) and deposit management strategies, policies, and programs.
Coming Rate Hike Should Nudge Bankers to Focus on Deposit Management Strategy
Higher Fed Rates Ahead: Plan Now to Manage Impact on Deposits
The Fed's signal of higher interest rates reiterates the importance of financial institution ALM and deposit management strategies, policies, and programs.
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Generally, bankers expect the yield on earning assets to increase sooner than the costs of their deposits. However, if a financial institution is to capture any of the projected economic growth moving forward, core funding is key, so now is actually a good time to look at growing deposits.
“Core funding is key, so now is actually a good time to look at growing deposits”
One risk in growing deposits is the risk that the current depositor mix includes a level of “surge deposits” that, while core in nature, are not well defined in terms of price sensitivity. To retain the surge, and grow new funding, institutions may need to increase rates paid to depositors sooner and more-than-projected. Otherwise, they risk losing funds and customer primacy to competitors, the stock market or other investments as depositors seek even higher yields.
However, in recent weeks we have witnessed uncertainty on Wall Street about tighter Fed policy, inflation, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and the pandemic’s longevity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is down more than 6% over the last month, and some analysts are projecting lower returns from equities over the next decade. Plans for aggressive rate increases and a suspension of asset purchases have many firms projecting slower growth and reduced yields for equities.
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If the market trends downward for long, banks and credit unions worried about money walking out the door might be surprised to find that does not happen. Financial institutions may see yet another flight to safety from investors looking for certainty after enjoying a good run in the market. As a result, financial institution deposit levels may increase yet again — a surge on surge!
- Attributes related to demographics, generational factors, and relationships
- Market rate correlations to pricing, and
- Rate sensitivity.
Susan Sharbel, Senior Advisor, Abrigo Advisory Services, and Dave Koch, Director, Abrigo Advisory Services, wrote this article.