Updated Friday, August 28, 2015 as of 10:44 AM ET

Citigroup to BofA Spurn Treasuries for Cash on Taper Risk

Never before have America’s banks been so wary of risking their cash deposits on U.S. government debt.

After holdings of U.S. debt surged to a record $1.89 trillion in 2012, lenders from Citigroup to Bank of America and Wells Fargo are culling for the first time in six years and amassing dollars. Banks’ $1.8 trillion of the bonds now equal less than 70% of their cash, the least since the Federal Reserve began compiling the data in 1973.

With net interest margins falling to the lowest since 2006, banks are spurning Treasuries and hoarding unprecedented amounts of cash on prospects that loan demand will revive as a strengthening economy leads the Fed to reduce its own debt purchases. Five years of cheap-money policies also have depressed yields and made it less attractive for banks to buy Treasuries as a way to bolster income.

“Banks reluctant to lend were large holders of Treasuries,” Jeffrey Klingelhofer, a money manager at Thornburg Investment Management Inc., which oversees $89 billion, said in a telephone interview from Santa Fe, New Mexico. “Like a lot of other people who have been moving out of fixed income, it’s largely to avoid the fallout from tapering.”

Get access to this article and thousands more...

All On Wall Street articles are archived after 7 days. REGISTER NOW for unlimited access to all recently archived articles, as well as thousands of searchable stories. Registered Members also gain access to exclusive industry white paper downloads, web seminars, blog discussions, the iPad App, CE Exams, and conference discounts. Qualified members may also choose to receive our free monthly magazine and any of our daily or weekly e-newsletters covering the latest breaking news, opinions from industry leaders, developing trends and growth strategies.

Already Registered?

Comments (0)

Be the first to comment on this post using the section below.

Add Your Comments:
Not Registered?
You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.
Already registered? Log in here
Please note you must now log in with your email address and password.

Already a subscriber? Log in here