Transcript: Gary Cohn on “Face the Nation,” March 19, 2023


The next is a transcript of an interview with Gary Cohn, the previous high financial adviser within the Trump White Home and now vice chairman of IBM, that aired on “Face the Nation” on Sunday, March 19, 2023.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we’re again now with the previous high financial adviser within the Trump administration and at present the vice chairman of IBM, Gary Cohn. Good morning to you. 

GARY COHN: Good morning, Margaret. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: We must also say you additionally used to run Goldman Sachs a few years in the past. In order that’s why I need to discuss to you about banking. However first, I need to ask you in regards to the gentleman you used to work for, the 45th president who could also be indicted within the coming days. He is known as for protests and that is elevating issues about violence. Are you involved about safety and what is going to occur subsequent?

GARY COHN: Nicely, I am anti protest, so I do not suppose we needs to be protesting something. I- I hope that America has discovered from what has occurred up to now, and I hope no matter occurs subsequent week, we simply have a really peaceable set of occasions. You recognize, in relation to this, nobody is above the legislation. However there are additionally possibly some politics concerned. So each of this stuff could also be true.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Your personal safety. Are you involved?

GARY COHN: No, I am not.

MARGARET BRENNAN. Residing in Manhattan. So on the banking entrance, per week in the past, you stated this appeared like a easy run on a financial institution. It is continued, although, to place strain on different banks. Why ought to we assume that different banks are higher at managing threat than Silicon Valley Financial institution was?

GARY COHN: Nicely, Margaret Financial institution runs are financial institution runs. When individuals lose confidence in a financial institution, deposits exit the door in a short time. Banks should not designed to have deposits exit in large scale. The truth is, banks are designed to take your deposits and reinvest them again within the economic system. They provide out mortgages, they provide out automobile loans. They provide out pupil loans. They let you have your bank cards. So there’s not that a lot liquidity in a financial institution to permit that to occur. When confidence is gone, individuals say, look, I’ll take my cash to someplace else the place I’ve extra confidence and we’re beginning to see that run by the system. And there is a contagion impact. You say, okay, one financial institution has the issue, okay, one other financial institution has. The issue is the financial institution I am in, is it secure? And I’ve any doubt in any respect that it isn’t secure. I will transfer to the most secure place I can as a result of it is higher secure than sorry when it is your personal hard-earned {dollars}.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s speak about that contagion threat on the opposite aspect of this business break. Gary, stick with us. We shall be proper again.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome again to Face the Nation. And we proceed our dialog now with former Trump financial advisor Gary Cohn. Gary, I need to choose up on the place we simply left off by way of stopping the bleeding that continues to be taking place for a few of these mid-sized banks like First Republic. Is there a white knight? Does this solely finish when one of many huge banks buys it up?

GARY COHN: Margaret, most certainly that would be the situation. On the finish of the day the banks which are most certified and have probably the most safe and soundest steadiness sheets they’ll afford to soak up a few of these bigger regional banks are the most important banks in America, which in an ironic manner is the very last thing that the regulatory group and Congress desires to see. However that most likely would be the possible end result.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There have been reviews that Warren Buffett, the legendary investor, has been speaking to the Biden administration. Is {that a} manner round that?

GARY COHN: You recognize, it might be. However then Warren Buffett would turn into a financial institution holding firm, and the restrictions on financial institution holding corporations are pretty dramatic. And he must perceive what that meant to his on a regular basis core enterprise, what he may do, what he could not do, and all of the rules and restrictions he would have upon himself after having turn into a financial institution holding firm. It isn’t a easy resolution.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Nicely, a part of that call has to even be, you understand, is that this going to harm me in the long run? Larry Fink, who, you understand, he runs the world’s largest asset supervisor, advised traders a couple of days in the past we may see extra seizures and shutdowns coming. He stated you might see one thing just like the saving and loans disaster within the 80 seconds and the 90s the place 1000’s of lenders simply disappeared. Is he overstating it?

GARY COHN: No, I believe, Larry, Larry’s not overstating it. It is a disaster of confidence proper now. To some extent, financial institution runs are a disaster of confidence. The federal government has put in place a backstop for the 2 banks that we all know are in bother. The banking trade itself is making an attempt to assist a 3rd financial institution by placing deposits into that financial institution. So we all know what the treatment is for 3 banks. However there are literally thousands of small and regional banks in the US. This often simply would not cease after two. We will proceed to go and traders and depositors will consider every financial institution and one after the other they may begin saying which what’s the subsequent financial institution that’s least safe that I most certainly don’t need to have my deposits in.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you understand, the buying and selling world nicely, that strikes like this and strikes so quick, it takes quite a bit longer for Congress to behave or do something.

GARY COHN: Look, these financial institution runs due to the way in which they have been digitized and the truth that everybody has on-line banking or on phone banking, these financial institution runs now can occur in minutes. You recognize, it isn’t like you are going to the financial institution anymore and also you’re standing in line on the entrance door and you may gradual it down. You’ll be able to’t decelerate digital banking.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you will have known as in an op ed for frequent sense regulation. You do need Congress to behave, you say with smaller financial institution oversight. You say the function of the board of administrators needs to be evaluated due to what occurred at SVB. Apparently, they did not have a whole lot of expertise on it, that the $250,000 restrict on deposit insurance coverage needs to be raised. Elizabeth Warren hit the identical numbers you probably did two, 5 and $10 Million. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: Does not that trickle all the way down to clients and simply make their prices go up if- if that type of insurance coverage extension occurs?

GARY COHN: Nicely, you are proper. Former chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, myself wrote an op ed the place we talked about, look, it’s important to have a board that has {qualifications}. They’ve to grasp banking. How can a board oversee a financial institution that they do not have {qualifications} and, sure, broaden deposit insurance coverage, however you might have tiered pricing. It might be one pricing for deposits beneath $250,000. After which you might have tiered pricing as your deposits go up and also you need them insured, you- it will likely be costlier to insure these deposits. However the important thing right here is, Margaret, and this is essential, we have to hold deposits within the US banking system. It is crucial that we hold deposits within the US banking system as a result of that is how we develop our economic system by permitting banks to relend these deposits into shoppers, to devour, to purchase homes, to purchase vehicles, to go to school. There’s an alternate. There’s a vital different that we talked about in our op ed. The choice is US Treasury bonds or US Treasury payments. They pay the next fee they usually have a tax benefit to them. The horrible end result can be if individuals take their cash out of banks in the US and put them into US Treasury obligations. That will have a dramatic affect on slowing down financial development and slowing down the economic system.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Federal Reserve meets this week. They management rates of interest, given the anxiousness that is taking place. Ken, Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, go forward with the hike he has deliberate. Or are issues so unhealthy on the market that he cannot do what the market expects?

GARY COHN: He is in he is in a troublesome spot. We nonetheless have inflation. We’re beginning to see some optimistic indicators that inflation is coming down. Inflation hurts shoppers as nicely. I believe Jerome Powell goes to wish to boost charges 25 foundation factors this week. After which I believe in his assertion, in his press convention, he’ll want to speak about how the Fed understands the cumulative impact, the lags results of rates of interest, and that they are going to be conscious about waiting for the cumulative results, the lags results, and they are going to be very knowledge dependent as they transfer ahead. And I believe he’ll go away himself a whole lot of room within the forward- within the ahead conferences to do no matter they should do, which can be pause, possibly lower or it could be elevated relying on how inflation goes in the US. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a result of all of it will have an effect on the broader economic system.

GARY COHN: All of- all of it. Each the banking aspect, in addition to what the Fed does in coverage.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And we all know there’s political ramifications, too. That is why we pull all of the threads collectively right here. Gary, thanks on your evaluation. We’ll be proper again.

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