by Michael Snyder

Fear is in the air.  Recently, we have seen a level of panic that we have not witnessed since 2008, and in such an environment, people just want to ensure their money is safe.  But very few places in our financial system are truly “safe” at this point.  The cryptocurrency industry has already experienced an absolutely disastrous crash; collapsing bond prices have blown a 620 billion dollar black hole in bank balance sheets, residential real estate prices have started to plummet, and now the largest commercial real estate crisis in the entire history of the United States is looming.  The good news is that stock prices are holding steady for now, but that can only last for so long.  As we witnessed in 2008, a major banking crisis will inevitably hit the stock market very hard.

I wish it wasn’t true, but we don’t have an economy without banks.

And right now, we are “in the midst of a nationwide banking crisis not seen since The Great Recession”

Americans are in the midst of a nationwide banking crisis not seen since The Great Recession, leading many to wonder if the country’s current woes are as dire as they were back in 2008.

The frightening saga has transpired over the course of just two weeks and has spurred the demise of now four major banks – Silvergate, Silicon Valley Bank, Signature, and, most recently, major global lender Credit Suisse.

But even though our leaders have had 15 years to figure things out since the last financial crisis, their response to this new crisis has been a complete flop.

Despite already being “rescued,” shares of First Republic fell another 47 percent on Monday

First Republic saw its shares plummet about 47% during trading on Monday, leading to losses among regional banks. The stock – which hovered around $115 per share on March 8 – was trading around $12 per share on Monday, the lowest level in a decade and down about 87% from just one month ago.

This wasn’t supposed to happen.

When the biggest banks in America poured 30 billion dollars into the troubled institution, that was supposed to be the end of it…

The prolonged slump came amid fears the First Republic may need to raise more funds despite an unprecedented $30 billion rescue deal announced last week by some of the nation’s biggest banks.

As part of the deal, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo will each contribute $5 billion; Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will deposit about $2.5 billion each, according to a news release from the banks. Trust, PNC, U.S. Bancorp, State Street, and Bank of New York Mellon will kick in about $1 billion apiece.

But that obviously didn’t work, so now JPMorgan Chase and the other big banks are working on a new “solution”

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that JPMorgan and its CEO, Jamie Dimon, were working with others in the industry on a solution for the bank, whose shares are down 87% this month.

The sad truth is that they don’t know how to handle what we are facing, so they are just making things up as they go along.

Of course, the same thing is happening in Europe.

Shares of Credit Suisse are down 67 percent over the past month, and in recent days, a bank purchase by UBS was hastily arranged.

Unfortunately, for those holding “additional tier-one bonds,” the value of those securities “will be written to zero as part of the deal”

One section of Credit Suisse’s bondholders is set to be wiped out following the struggling bank’s takeover by UBS, causing them to see investments worth 16 billion Swiss francs ($17 billion) become worthless.

The Swiss regulator FINMA announced Sunday that the so-called additional tier-one bonds, which are widely regarded as relatively risky investments, will be written to zero as part of the deal.

This isn’t what those bondholders were anticipating.

Normally, shareholders are subordinate to bondholders, but in this case, shareholders will get paid while AT1 bondholders get nothing

The move has angered Credit Suisse AT1 bondholders as their investments have seemingly been lost, while shareholders will receive payouts as part of the takeover. Usually, equity investments would be classed as secondary to AT1 bonds.

Therefore, the decision “can be interpreted as an effective subordination of AT1 bondholders to shareholders,” Goldman Sachs’ credit strategists said in a research note published Sunday.

They just changed the rules of the game on the fly, and as a result, the entire market for AT1 bonds is crashing like a house of cards

Not surprisingly, this morning the entire universe of riskiest bonds of European lenders – those in the AT1 tier – plunged after UBS agreed to buy the bank in a historic, government-enforced deal aimed at containing a crisis of confidence that had started to spread across global financial markets. It was the biggest loss yet for Europe’s AT1 market, which was created after the financial crisis to ensure losses would be borne by investors not taxpayers.

The financial world is supposed to operate based on a very predictable set of rules.

But if authorities are just going to make things up whenever a new crisis erupts, that is only going to create even more fear.

As I discussed yesterday, one recent report determined that 186 more banks in the United States are “at risk of failure.”

So if the failure of a couple of banks has already caused so much drama, can you imagine what conditions will be like if dozens more start going belly up?

I would encourage everyone to do whatever they need to do to prepare for the coming chaos, including putting their money in relatively safe places.

Unfortunately, the list of safe places to put your money is getting narrower with each passing day.

Cryptocurrencies have already crashed, corporate bonds are clearly dangerous, government bonds have lost value, real estate is a huge gamble, and anyone with more than $250,000 in a single bank in this environment is not wise.

We are in uncharted territory, and things will only get crazier from here.


Cross-Posted With Conservative Firing Line