Majority of Americans don’t think banking crisis will personally impact them: poll

A sign for a Silicon Valley Bank private branch is displayed in San Francisco, Tuesday, March 14, 2023. The recent failure of the Silicon Valley Bank was unlike a traditional bank run. It involved Twitter, internet memes and message boards and happened at unprecedented speed. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Most Americans aren’t too worried that the failure of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month will personally impact them, though greater concerns remain over the potential for broader economic fallout, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

Only 9 percent of respondents said they expect the bank failure to affect them a “great deal,” while 20 percent expect it to impact them a moderate amount, according to the poll. Thirty-one percent said they’re anticipating only a small personal hit from the failure, while a plurality – 40 percent – said they’re not worried at all. 

The bigger concern for voters is the effect that recent bank failures could have on the larger economy. Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they’re at least somewhat worried about the economic impact of the banking woes, the poll found. Just 12 percent said they’re not concerned at all, while 25 percent said they’re “not very worried.”

And more than half of voters said that they’re at least somewhat concerned about a banking crisis resembling the 2008 financial crisis that plunged the country into the Great Recession.

Silicon Valley Bank, a California-based lender with a deep client base in the tech sector, was seized by federal regulators earlier this month after a run on deposits. Days later, regulators took control of Signature Bank in an effort to stem the crisis from spreading.

Together, the collapses represent the second and third largest bank failures in U.S. history. 

Still, voters remain more concerned about the rising cost of living and inflation than the recent bank failures. Thirty-five percent said that inflation is the most important issue facing the country right now. 

At the same time, a slight majority of voters – 54 percent – want the Federal Reserve to prioritize combating inflation, even if doing so sparks more bank failures and plunges the U.S. economy into a financial crisis in the short term. 

“Surprisingly while Wall Street is fixated on the banking crisis, most average Americans show little concern and believe their deposits are safe,” Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, said. “They remain more focused on inflation as their core issue on the economy.” 

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey was conducted March 22-23 and surveyed 2,905 registered voters. It is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and the Harris Poll.

The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.

Tags federal reserve inflation Mark Penn Signature Bank Silicon Valley Bank

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