Financial TimesFinancial Times

SVB’s collapse was one thing, Credit Suisse’s quite another

By Robin Harding

30 May 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

If a run on a liquid, well-capitalised bank like Credit Suisse is possible, it could happen to anyone, writes the FT's Robin Harding. No wonder bankers and regulators alike are rattled.

The 1996 slasher movie Scream sets out three rules to survive a horror movie: you can never have sex, you can never drink or do drugs and you can never, under any circumstances, say “I’ll be right back”. Among recent bank failures, Silvergate did the deed, Signature Bank got wasted on its parents’ Tia Maria and Silicon Valley Bank did both before popping outside to check the strange noise in the garden. Having all committed obvious banking sins, all were duly punished.

International bankers and regulators, observing the recent fiasco in US banking, are scornful. “Poor management, poor supervision, poor regulation. The Fed has acknowledged as much,” one told me recently. They are not unduly worried about the same thing happening on their patch. But there is one collapse the banking community takes differently; one that has everyone worried, because it casts doubt on the fundamentals of financial regulation. The failure of Credit Suisse really is a horror story.

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