Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

By Eric Mack    |   Thursday, 04 May 2023 02:04 PM EDT


After the recent collapses of regional banks amid rising interest rates and inflationary pressure, about half of Americans are worried about the safety of their deposits in banks, according to the latest Gallup Poll released Thursday. The findings in the poll are similar to the concerns expressed during the 2008 financial crisis, as 19% are very worried and 29% are moderately worried, a combined 48% concerned.

That’s worse than the 2008 Great Recession. Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in 2008 was the largest in U.S. history, at which time Gallup found 45% of U.S. adults said they were very or moderately worried about the safety of their money.

The new poll was conducted before the third bank collapse this year had First Republic Bank being taken over by JPMorgan Chase. First Republic Bank is the largest bank failure since 2008. Like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that had collapsed in President Joe Biden’s economy, First Republic Bank was a California specialty lender catering to “rich coastal Americans, enticing them with low-rate mortgages in exchange for leaving cash at the bank,” CNBC reported.

“After several recent high-profile bank failures in the U.S., about half of Americans are concerned about the safety of the money they have in banks or other financial institutions,” Gallup Poll’s Megan Brenan wrote in the analysis’ “bottom line.” “This is on par with the level of worry measured during the financial crisis in 2008 when financial institutions previously believed to be ‘too big to fail’ collapsed.

“And while Gallup has not measured this during calmer times for the banking industry, the December 2008 reading showed slightly diminished concern after the crisis had been addressed, suggesting high worry about the security of deposits may not be the norm for Americans.”

The concern is not level across party affiliation. A majority of Republicans (55%) and independents (51%) are at least moderately worried, while just 36% of Democrats are. That’s the inverse at the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis under then-President George Bush, when 55% of Democrats were at least moderately worried compared to 34% of Republicans.

The Gallup Poll was conducted April 3-24 among 1,013 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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