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Business

Big US banks keep one eye on the Fed

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

Business

Big US banks keep one eye on the Fed

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COMING UP:Big US banks keep one eye on the Fed

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00:00:00
>> America's biggest banks are finally running into costs they just can't cut. From hiring tellers to repairing ATMs, to deciding whether to cut an entire business unit, these costs are hitting bank's bottom lines. Bank of America saying it spends $1 billion a year just to move cash between branches.
00:00:16
And with Wall Street facing a dry spell for profits, banks are sitting tight waiting for the Federal Reserve to do, well, anything. Reuters reporter Dan Freed explains.>> Well ever since the financial crisis it's been a very difficult environment for them. They've got tougher regulations that prohibit activities such as proprietary trading.
00:00:37
There are a lot of fines and fees that they pay, they can't make as much money on credit card transactions that they use to. But then the other big macro-factor for banks that has been relentless and very painful, is sustained low interest rates. Because banks need higher interest rates to make fatter margins when they lend.
00:01:01
>> But while the Fed continues to hold back on raising interest rates, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo continue to lose. All posting profit declines in the second quarter. Bank of America sinking down that furthest by 19%. One bank did buck the trend. Goldman Sachs profit surging.
00:01:18
Mainly a good dose of market volatility following Britain's vote to leave the Union. But it's still a skin and bones game for banks. Rounds of cost-cutting initiatives, layoffs, and axing employee perks barely making a dent.>> They say that they can make money by just gathering more deposits and making more loans.
00:01:38
That remains to be seen. They've already done the vast majority of cuts that they can do. There may be a few more things around the margins that they can do. But no, really what banks need is for interest rates to go up.>> That leaves bank chiefs watching key economic numbers they hope will prod the Fed to raise rates.