About two years ago, I wrote a blog declaring the end to, or “the death of,” Surge Deposits. In that post, I had noted how at the time of, and following the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the banking industry saw a substantial influx of deposits as real estate and equity investors liquidated positions and sought safe places to store their money and ride out the storm. I further noted that as CD rates plummeted during, and following, the economic crisis, CD holders weren’t being provided with any incentive to have their money “locked” into time deposits. As time deposits matured, CD holders routinely moved their balances into more liquid non-maturity deposits (NMDs). These former CD holders were essentially temporarily “parking” their money in NMD accounts, just waiting for CD rates to return to what they believed were more “normal” levels, at which time they’d move the balances back into time deposits.
For the past ten years or so, surge deposits have been a material issue in asset/liability management. At the time of, and following the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the banking industry saw a substantial influx of deposits as real estate and equity investors liquidated positions and sought safe places to store their money and ride out the storm. The impact of this flight to safety was compounded by Government sponsored initiatives such as the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) Program and increases in Federal deposit insurance levels.
As a result, banks experienced significant deposit growth, and while these surge deposits would have normally been seen as a good thing, the near evaporation of loan demand left many banks with far more deposit dollars than they could effectively put to use. In turn, market liquidity levels skyrocketed, but margins were compressed. For the purpose of this article, we’ll refer to these funds moving from real estate, equities, or any other investments into the banking system as Type I Surge Deposits.
So why do we keep hearing about “surge” deposits and how important it is to know if you’re holding any? Well, it might be because in the past 10 years, CD balances in FDIC insured institutions have fallen by $880 Billion; yes, that’s Billion with a capital “B.” And while that may be the bad news, the good news is that over the same time period, non-maturity deposits (DDAs, NOWs, Savings, and MMDAs) have grown by $5.9 Trillion (with a capital “T”).
In the last 5-10 years, there's been a lot of growth in DDA, NOW, MMDA, and savings accounts. These deposits can provide a great low-cost funding base, but they can also draw attention at your next exam.
Examiners are looking closely at these surge deposit balances. Specifically, they're looking to see if you've considered surge deposits in 3 ways.