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The Huge Significance of Small Banks

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Torsten Slok had been firmly in the “no landing” camp of economists. More positive than a “soft landing,” its adherents say the Federal Reserve will tame inflation without triggering a recession at all. But for Slok, chief economist of Apollo Global Management, that all changed with the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. Now he’s bracing for a “hard landing.”

Slok joined the What Goes Up podcast to discuss the sizeable role regional banks play in the US economy, and the reasons why SVB’s collapse changed his outlook. A big reason is how regional banks may now change their behavior.

“Regional banks make up 30% of assets and roughly 40% of all lending,” he explains. That big chunk of the US banking sector is now looking at what happened to SVB and worrying what comes next. With a slowdown potentially underway thanks to the central bank’s rate hikes, Slok warns a reluctance to lend by SVB’s mid-size brethren might mean it comes “faster simply because of this banking situation.”

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