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In the News: What’s a Bank Run?

( – With the recent news regarding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), we wanted to break things down. A bank run is a situation where a large number of customers of a bank withdraw their deposits at the same time, usually due to concerns about the bank’s solvency or ability to meet its financial obligations. This can happen when customers lose confidence in the bank’s ability to keep their deposits safe or if there are rumors or news of financial difficulties, such as bankruptcy or insolvency, associated with the bank.

A bank run can quickly deplete a bank’s cash reserves, as it struggles to meet the demand for withdrawals. If the bank is unable to meet all of the withdrawal requests, it may be forced to close its doors or file for bankruptcy, leaving its customers with lost savings. Bank runs can have a cascading effect on the financial system, as other banks may also come under scrutiny and face similar withdrawal demands.

To prevent bank runs, governments and central banks typically have deposit insurance schemes or other mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of depositors’ funds and to maintain confidence in the banking system. They may also intervene to provide liquidity to banks in crisis or to take over failing banks to prevent wider systemic risks.

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