06/12/2023 lewrockwell.com  6 min 🇬🇧 #238631

We Are Witnessing an Avalanche of Branch Closings as Us. Banks Desperately Try To Stay Alive

By  Michael Snyder

 The Economic Collapse

December 6, 2023

If you do things the right way, in the long run you will get positive results. But if you do things the wrong way, in the long run you will get negative results. Our banks are the beating heart of our entire economy, and unfortunately they have been doing things the wrong way for a long time. As a result, the entire system  is being greatly shaken. Loans are starting to go delinquent at a frightening pace, we have seen endless "banking glitches" in recent months, tens of thousands of banking employees have already been laid off, and U.S. banks are sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars of unrealized losses. Sadly,  a lot more chaos is on the way. As small and mid-size banks fail, they will get gobbled up by the big boys. Of course the big boys are scrambling to survive too. In fact, it is being reported that JPMorgan Chase will close  a total of 159 local branches by the end of this calendar year...

In 2023, JP Morgan Chase has or will close 159 branch locations across the United States. The banking giant is not alone in its decision to scale back its physical presence as banking moves online; Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citi Bank have announced closures at similar scales that will continue into 2024.

Bank of America is not far behind.

We are being told that it will permanently close  more than 100 local branches by the end of 2023...

Bank of America is the second largest bank in the United States, and this year, the financial giant has announced that it will close up to 138 locations. To date, 95 branches have been closed this year, and 15 more are to shutter by the end of the year. The remaining locations are planned to close in 2024, meaning that the trend, common among nearly all of the big banks of shutting local branches will continue.

At this point, just about everyone is closing branches.

In addition to laying off workers, this is one of the measures that banks can take to try to save some money.

As I discussed the other day, in just one week in November U.S. banks submitted filings to permanently close  another 64 branches.

Of course this "avalanche" of branch closings didn't just start recently. In 2022, our banks shut down  more than 3,000 branches. We have never seen anything like this before, and everyone agrees that more branch closures are coming in 2024.

But many banks have no choice. Right now, U.S. banks are sitting on an absolutely colossal mountain of unrealized losses.

In fact, new numbers that were just released show that U.S. banks are now sitting on a total of  684 billion dollars of unrealized losses...

"Unrealized losses" on securities - mostly Treasury securities and government-guaranteed MBS - at FDIC-insured commercial banks at the end of Q3 jumped by $126 billion (or by 22%) from the prior quarter, to $684 billion, according to the FDIC's quarterly bank data release on Wednesday.

As long as everyone pretends that everything is fine and there are no bank runs, there will be no need for panic.

But if Americans start pulling their money out of our troubled banks, they will be forced to sell Treasury bonds at massive losses, and there will be more bank failures.

Do you remember when Silicon Valley Bank failed earlier this year?

Well, that is precisely what happened.

So let's hope that everyone stays nice and calm and leaves their money in the banks.

According to one recent report, there are three banks  that are particularly vulnerable at this moment...

Regional banks Comerica, First Horizon and Zions are at risk of being targets for acquisition by larger rivals, according to a new report.

Since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, the US banking industry has been poised for a reconfiguration that could see smaller regional banks wiped out.

Meanwhile, the housing bubble just continues to burst.

On Thursday, we learned that pending home sales in the U.S. have fallen  to the lowest level ever recorded...

Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts on existing homes, dropped 1.5% in October from September.

They hit the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began tracking this metric in 2001, meaning it's even worse than readings during the financial crisis more than a decade ago. Sales were down 8.5% from October of last year.

Let those paragraphs sink in for a moment.

Even during the darkest days of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, pending home sales never dropped this low.

But the mainstream media continues to insist that the economy is "strong" and that there is no reason for concern.

And during the month of November stock prices  surged higher...

The Dow reached a new high for the year Thursday as easing inflation data and strong third quarter earnings from Salesforce shot the benchmark index 520 points, or 1.5% higher.

While it was a mixed day for markets overall, all three major indexes managed to make November one of their top-performing months of 2023.

The S&P 500 rose more than 8% this month and the Nasdaq was up about 10%, marking their best month since July 2022. The Dow, meanwhile, managed to shake off a three-month losing streak, also rising by about 8.8% and notching its best month since October 2022.

Let's hope that this continues for a while.

Let's hope that everyone remains calm and continues to conduct business as usual for as long as possible.

Because once a panic begins and people start pulling their money out of the banks, we are going to have  a massive crisis on our hands.

At this point, vast numbers of U.S. banks are "financial zombies", vast hordes of U.S. consumers are "financial zombies", and the U.S. government  is the biggest "financial zombie" of all.

But as long as most people have faith in the system, the game will be able to continue.

Unfortunately, it is just a matter of time before the charade crumbles and a meltdown of absolutely epic proportions begins...

Reprinted with permission from  The Economic Collapse.

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