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  • Frank Byrd and Steve Korn

Opportunity as Banks Retreat



 

Banks: The New Public Utilities


Following Silicon Valley Bank's failure earlier this year, banks have been less willing to make commercial loans. While this poses risk for the economy, there is a potential benefit: as banks retreat, it is opening the door for private lenders to step in and fill the void. Investors in these private credit firms are benefitting from the high interest rates they're charging corporate borrowers.  


We recently had the privilege of discussing this dynamic with Apollo's Chief Economist, Torsten Slok. He notes that this window will ultimately close. You can watch or listen here: 




The failure of Silicon Valley Bank and subsequent bank runs earlier this year were a shock and embarrassment for regulators and bank management. The not-surprising result is that banks are pulling back from commercial lending. This merely accelerates a trend that was already underway for years before: banks have been less and less willing to hold loans that involve risk. 


Commercial Bank Loan Growth Has Slowed



 

Banks are slowly morphing into quasi-public utilities. Increasingly onerous regulatory capital requirements have made it more expensive for banks to hold commercial loans on their balance sheets. 


Private Credit Gone Wild?


Skeptics fear private credit. We don't. We believe private credit represents a secular shift in the way that capital is allocated in our economy. It is here to stay. At least until bank regulators change their restrictions on banks holding risk on their balance sheets - if that ever happens. Call us skeptics that governments will ever relent in their growing influence over banks. 


No doubt we'll be reading future articles about private credit gone bad. But saying "private credit is bad" is like saying "stocks are bad". Private credit encompasses a wide spectrum: from good lenders making low-risk loans to high-quality borrowers …. to bad lenders making high-risk loans to low-quality borrowers … and everything in between. Selectivity matters.  


We believe that a thoughtfully constructed, diversified portfolio of private credit may offer better risk-adjusted returns than the S&P 500 going forward. Sending our wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.  We are grateful for you, our thoughtful clients and friends. 


Yours in the Field,


Frank Byrd, CFA        Steve Korn, CFA      



 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This note is for educational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to invest in any particular security or strategy, since anything mentioned herein may be completely unsuitable for some investors. Speak with your financial adviser before investing. While the information presented herein is believed to be accurate, Fielder Capital Group LLC (Fielder) makes no express warranty as to the completeness or accuracy, nor can it accept responsibility for errors appearing in this email or any attachments. Fielder is under no obligation to notify you of any errors discovered later or of any subsequent changes in opinions. Fielder’s employees are not attorneys or accountants and do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Financial planning and investment strategies have the potential for loss. It should not be assumed that any of the securities, transactions, or holdings discussed will prove to be profitable in the future or that investment recommendations or decisions Fielder makes in the future will be profitable or will equal the investment performance of the securities discussed herein. Investing involves risk, including the potential of complete loss of principal amount invested. Fielder offers no guarantees or promises of success. Nothing herein should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Fielder or its employees may have an economic interest in securities mentioned herein.     

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