Warren Buffett said more U.S. banks are likely to go bankrupt, but depositors need to make sure they don’t lose their funds.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “We’re not done with bank failures,” its president and CEO said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. Buffet stressed that the foolish decisions of bank executives should not cause panic among all U.S. citizens in a situation where there is no need to panic.
Buffett said he is prepared to bet that no depositor will lose money next year. But the billionaire investor warned that troubled bank shares are not worthwhile investments and that shareholders are unlikely to be bailed out even if the government takes action to protect depositors.
“They won’t bail out shareholders,” Buffett said when asked if troubled bank stocks, including First Republic Bank, were big profitable investments.
Buffett said the working structure of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which collects reviews from banks with the deposits it insures, means that the federal government does not lose money when intervening in failed banks.
“The public has the impression that the FDIC is the U.S. government. But the cost of the FDIC, including the cost of their staff and everything else, is borne by the banks. So banks have never cost the federal government a penny,” Buffett said.
Buffett said that Berkshire’s sale of bank stakes was not a criticism of the management of these banks, but rather more broadly expressed the feeling of cooling in the industry.
Buffett still named Bank of America Corp. his preferred bank.
“I love Brian Moynihan so much. I just don’t want to sell it,” Buffett said of the bank’s CEO.