US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted that the country’s banking system is “sound,” as stock markets continued to rise.
“Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them,” Yellen told the Senate.
In recent days, US regulators have been forced to rescue two banks, raising investor concerns that other lenders may be in trouble.
After a shaky start to trading, markets in New York rose.
The news that First Republic Bank is considering a sale alarmed investors. Its stock price dropped by 23%.
However, the Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 indexes in the United States are now higher after opening lower.
Markets in the United Kingdom and Europe recovered earlier on Thursday after Credit Suisse announced overnight that it had secured a £45 billion lifeline from Switzerland’s central bank.
Concerns that Credit Suisse’s problems could spark a broader banking crisis sent stock markets tumbling on Wednesday.
Credit Suisse sought assistance from the Swiss National Bank after revealing “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting.
The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the country’s 16th-largest lender, was followed two days later by the failure of New York’s Signature Bank, highlighting problems in the banking sector in the United States.
As panic spread, authorities were forced to intervene to prevent a run on bank deposits.
“This week’s actions demonstrate our steadfast commitment to ensuring that depositors’ savings remain safe,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee.
According to Bloomberg, First Republic Bank, a mid-sized bank similar to SVB, is considering selling the business.
The failure of Silicon Valley Bank heightened concerns about the value of bonds held by banks, as rising interest rates reduced the value of those bonds.
Central banks around the world, including the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, have raised interest rates sharply in an attempt to slow the rate of price increases, or inflation.
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a further increase in interest rates from 2.5% to 3% on Thursday.
Commenting on the recent turmoil, ECB vice president Luis de Guindos said “the banking industry in Europe is resilient” and they have “limited exposure to the institutions of the US”.
Banks typically hold large bond portfolios and, as a result, are sitting on significant potential losses.
The decline in the value of bank bonds is not necessarily a problem unless the banks are forced to sell them.