The US banking industry has been hit hard by a global financial crisis that has wiped $2 trillion out of the country’s economic output and sent the economy into a tailspin.
This has left many US banks facing an existential threat to their viability.
Here’s a look at how US banks may be doing.
The US banking system is on the brink of collapse: “I can tell you right now, if the Fed were to raise rates in October, that I would be very surprised,” says Bob O’Connor, who co-founded Citigroup with Paulson in 2007.
“You would be looking at a situation where the banks that are going bankrupt are the ones that have the highest debt loads.
And the people that are losing their money, and the people who are losing money are the people with the lowest debt loads, the people on the fringes.”
O’Connor was one of the bankers that helped the Trump administration draft the budget proposal, which included a $1 trillion spending cut.
But in the end, he says, “it was just a bunch of platitudes, which was probably a good thing.”
The Obama administration imposed a moratorium on mortgage foreclosures, which temporarily closed off the federal government’s ability to take on mortgages from the highest-risk borrowers.
The moratorium also made it harder for banks to lend to consumers.
But after the Trump-led administration signed the budget, it reversed course and lifted the moratorium.
O’Conner says the administration has also reversed a policy that had been in place for several years that would allow borrowers with down payment problems to be approved for mortgages, but that was not followed through with.
“The policy change was so drastic that I was surprised to see the banks’ ability to lend on the assumption that it was going to be a loan for a long time to come,” he says.
“And I don’t think it was.”
And the US financial system is still in the process of recovering from the global financial collapse: The Federal Reserve has been forced to increase its bond purchases from a record low in December of last year to $40 billion this month.
But the Fed has yet to raise interest rates, and a number of experts are warning that the economy will continue to struggle in the coming months as the US economy drags on.
The Fed’s policy of keeping rates low is not just hurting the US banking sector, says O’Connell.
It’s also hurting the economy.
Since the end of the global recession, the US has been able to refinance some of its outstanding debt at lower rates than it had before the crisis.
The Fed’s move is causing a significant downturn in US debt markets, and could be destabilizing the entire US economy, according to economist and former Federal Reserve official Robert Samuelson.
Samuelson argues that the Fed’s “negative rate policy is hurting the U.S. economy, not helping it.”
“What is at stake is the entire global economy, the United States and the world,” he said.
“If the Fed raises rates too much, it will have a profound impact on global markets.
It will also affect domestic markets.
That’s where it has a major impact.”
The US financial industry has seen an economic contraction: According to the International Monetary Fund, the total US economy lost nearly 1.5 million jobs between March and September.
This includes a drop in employment in retail and hospitality, and an increase in the unemployment rate in the US and Canada.
And yet, as the unemployment numbers continue to rise, there are some economists who argue that the US economic recovery will be far worse than it was in the early stages of the crisis: “There is a disconnect between the official unemployment rate and the actual jobless rate,” says Michael Greenstone, who was a deputy secretary of the US Department of Labor during the Bush administration.
“I think the economy has recovered quite well, and so the unemployment has probably not gone down that much.”
The government is also taking measures to address the problems caused by the crisis, including increasing unemployment benefits and cutting interest rates.
But some economists say that these measures are not enough.
When the recession hit, many Americans did not have access to the services they needed to survive.
“There were not enough people in the labor force,” says OConnor.
“It is now clear that the economic recovery has been extremely slow, and that the problem of long-term unemployment is far more significant than people realize.”