As a fallout from Silicon Valley BankAs the company’s failures continue, the Federal Reserve needs to slow down before “a lot more” breaks, Altimeter Capital’s Brad Gerstner said in a CNBC report Monday.
Gerstner said he was not “pointing the finger” at Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. But Gerstner said there would be “a lot of questions” about the Fed’s response to inflation, given the collapse of SVB and the subsequent selloff of regional banks.
“Our main regulator [Powell] told us on Tuesday that everything was fine,” Gerstner said. “By Thursday, it was clear that our entire regional banking system was in trouble.”
That leaves room for “a lot of investigation and a lot of questions to be asked of everyone involved,” he said.
In the past week, three significant banks with a strong influence on startups or crypto have collapsed or closed.
Crypto is in the spotlight on Wednesday Silvergate Bank said it would be discontinued and liquidated. SVB’s shares tumbled the next day after the bank said it was selling securities at a loss and trying to raise cash, prompting many venture-backed tech clients to withdraw their funds. By Friday, SVB had been shut down by regulators.
Silvergate, SVB and The bank signed, which were shut down by regulators on Sunday, were all mid-sized banks focused on speculative technology or crypto investments. Their profile was very different from most regional banks that focused on small businesses or individual consumers.
Gerstner said the risk to the regional banking sector goes far beyond just SVBs or “young startup founders,” but it’s important to note that a “major source” of funding for this market has disappeared “virtually overnight.”
“We’re on the cusp of one of the most exciting periods of technological innovation,” Gerstner told CNBC’s Scott Wapner, before comparing the current moment to the 2008 financial crisis. “Here we are again, the world is undergoing a major reboot.”
Gerstner said the Fed’s efforts to reduce inflation by rapidly raising rates have left banks in disarray.
“It wasn’t a startup ecosystem problem,” the investor continued. “It was a national banking problem.”
While the exit to st 10-year treasury fell nearly 20 basis points to 3.50% on Monday, after climbing above 4% earlier this month.
“It’s the market telling the Fed that ‘it better slow down or a lot more things are going to go wrong,'” Gerstner said. “We’re going to have a massive recession and much bigger problems.”