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Signature Bank Shareholders Lose Everything As Regulator Shuts It Down — Just Days After Silicon Valley Bank Collapse



Key Takeaways

  • Signature Bank was closed down by the state regulators on Sunday, following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank just two days prior
  • Like Silicon Valley Bank, investors in Signature Bank have been wiped out, but the regulators have stepped in to guarantee 100% of deposits within the bank
  • Banking stocks were down heavily on Monday, especially smaller regional banks such as First Republic Bank (-61.83%) and Western Alliance Bancorp (-47.06%).

Following the dramatic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) on Friday, the regulators stepped in on Sunday to provide emergency support to depositors and the banking system. But it’s not the only bank that was left reeling from volatility.

Between Wednesday and Friday last week, Signature Bank stock fell over 32.27%, bringing the total loss for investors to 75.84% over the last year. By Sunday, that loss was at 100%.

On the same day as they announced the support for SVB depositors, the joint statement from the Treasury, Federal Reserve and the FDIC explained that state regulators would also be shutting down Signature Bank.

The statement read:

“We are also announcing a similar systemic risk exception for Signature Bank, which was closed today by its state chartering authority. All depositors of this institution will be made whole. No losses will be borne by the taxpayer.


Shareholders and certain unsecured debtholders will not be protected. Senior management has also been removed.”

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Who was Signature Bank?

Signature Bank was founded in New York in 2001, with a business model catering to high net worth clients and a high tough, personal approach. Over time the business expanded and changed, and in 2018 they began to work with the crypto sector.

Crypto businesses often find it challenging to access banking services, and the fact that Signature Bank offered them meant their crypto links grew quickly.

By February 2023, 30% of the bank’s deposits came from the cryptocurrency sector, including major reserves for stablecoin USDC.

In late July 2022, the Financial Times published an article which outlined concerns over the banks concentration in the crypto sector, noting that 8 out of the 12 largest crypto brokers were clients of the bank.

Given that they had come to be known as the ‘crypto bank,’ it’s not too surprising to think that they will have experienced challenges with their client book, given the depths of the current crypto winter.

The circumstances leading to the collapse

It’s no secret that crypto has been hit hard over the last 18 months. Many companies have gone bankrupt, and the ones that remain have had to make serious layoffs and cutbacks in order to stay afloat.

In an environment like this, these types of companies are not going to be adding significant cash to their deposits. In many cases, they’ll be dipping into their rainy day fund to keep the lights on, reducing cash reserves with no short term plan to replace them.

For a bank, this provides challenges with liquidity. As we saw with Silicon Valley Bank, it’s common practice for banks to loan out deposits at longer durations for higher interest rates. It’s the cornerstone of fractional reserve banking, the accepted global banking system.

The full details will come out in the coming weeks and months, but it’s believed that the bank’s already shaky financial position (the stock was down over 62% even before the Silicon Valley Bank news on Thursday) and the links to crypto, caused depositors to panic late Friday, causing another bank run.

What happens to Signature Bank investors?

As outlined in the statement from the Fed, the Treasury and the FDIC, Signature Bank shareholders will see their stock value go to zero. That’s part of the risk of investing, and unfortunately those investors will have to chalk this one up to a learning experience.

It’s a key example of why diversification is so important. Smaller companies like Signature Bank can offer enticing potential returns for investors, but that doesn’t come without risk.

Signature Bank stock went from under $80 in late 2020 to hit an all-time high of $366 at the start of 2022. And now it’s worth $0.

Large banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are highly unlikely to see those sorts of returns, but they’re also far less likely to go to $0 as well. Investing across companies of all sizes and all industries allows investors to gain exposure to potential big winners, while not risking it all on them.

What happens to Signature Bank depositors?

The measures announced by the regulators means that depositors won’t lose anything. Unlike the 2008 financial crisis, the current banking issues are liquidity problems. There are assets that back all of the deposits in the bank, they’re just locked up in long term investments.

Protection from the regulators will mean that depositors will be able to get access to their cash if they need it, but it also means that taxpayers won’t be on the hook to make up the difference.

All that’s being provided is short term liquidity, to allow the system to continue to function as it should.

Not only that, but it has also been announced that new measures will be put in place to allow banks to access short term capital if they are impacted by liquidity issues like this in the future.

The fallout for banking stocks

It’s not good news for regional banks right now. Account holders are a little nervous, and we’re seeing a flight of cash from small banks into large ‘too big to fail’ ones. Whether this is necessary given the Feds intervention is debatable, but it’s happening anyway.

On Thursday, a number of regional banks saw major value wiped off their market cap, including First Republic Bank (-61.83%), PacWest Bancorp (-21.05%), Western Alliance Bancorp (-47.06%) and Zions Bancorp (-25.72%).

The big banks were also down, but given the level of general banking negativity, these drops could be considered fairly minor. JPMorgan Chase closed Thursday down 1.8%, Bank of America fell 5.85%, Wells Fargo dropped 7.13% and Citi was down 7.47%.

However, all of these banks were up in after hours trading on Thursday.

Most analysts agree that there is no fundamental concern about the stability of the banking system. This has been an issue of liquidity and the ability for banks to access their assets fast enough to pay out depositors, not a concern over the actual fundamental value of those assets like in 2008.

The bottom line

It’s been a nerve wracking few days for investors holding bank stocks, and we’re likely to see some continued volatility in the coming days. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Fed responds at the next FOMC meeting, as it’s hard to see them raising rates given the turmoil of the past few days.

As always, there’s no way of knowing exactly what will happen, but if the Fed does pause their rate hikes, markets could rally. Or they might charge on regardless, and markets could tumble.

It’s important to stay invested and diversified for long term returns, but protecting your downside when possible is incredibly important as well.

Hedging is a great way to do this, but it’s a pretty tall order for retail investors. It usually involves complex trades and financial instruments, which can backfire if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why we created our AI-powered Portfolio Protection.

Every week our AI runs a sensitivity analysis on your portfolio and assesses it against various forms of risk. It then automatically implements hedging strategies, and rebalances these every week. It’s cutting edge tech, and it’s available on all of our Foundation Kits.


Bonds See 2023 Recession, Stocks Aren’t So Sure



The yield curve is one of the most robust recession predictors and has signaled a recession may be coming since mid 2022. In contrast, U.S. stocks as measured by the S&P 500 are up materially from the lows of last October and only just below year-to-date highs, seemingly rejecting recession fears. Yet, fixed income markets see the Fed potentially cutting rates by the summer, perhaps reacting to a U.S. recession.

The Evidence From The Bond Markets

The recessionary evidence, at least from fixed income markets, is mounting. The 10 yield Treasury yield has been below the 2 year yield consistently since last July. That is is called an inverted yield curve and has signaled a recession fairly reliably when compared to other leading indicators.

Building on that, fixed income markets see almost a nine in ten chance that the Federal Reserve cuts rates by September of this year. That’s something the Fed has repeatedly said they won’t do on their current forecasts. Yet, a recession could cause it to happen.

The Stock Market

In contrast, the stock market shows some optimism. The S&P 500 is up 7% year-to-date as the market has shrugged off fears of contagion from recent banking issues. In particular, tech stocks have rallied.

In contrast, more defensive sectors such as healthcare, utilities and consumer goods have lagged in 2023. This suggests that the stock market is taking more of a ‘risk on’ position and is perhaps less worried about the economy.


That said the stock market is a leading indicator of the business cycle, it may be that stocks see a recession, but are now looking past it to growth ahead and are factoring in the lower discount rates that a recession might bring as interest rates decline. Also, the U.S. stock market is relatively global, so the fate of the U.S. economy is a key factor in driving profits, but not the only one.

What’s Next?

Monitoring unemployment data will be key. Though the yield curve is a good long-term forecaster of recessions it is less precise in signaling when a recession starts. Unemployment rates can offer more accurate recession timing. Unemployment edged up in February, suggesting a recession may be near, but we’ve also seen monthly noise unemployment. Two similar monthly unemployment spikes during 2022 both proved false alarms.

However, if we see a sustained move up in unemployment from the low levels of 2022 that may be a relatively clear sign that a recession is here. Economist Claudia Sahm estimates that a sustained 0.5% increase in unemployment rate from 12-month lows is sufficient to trigger a recession. Unemployment rose 0.2% from January to February 2023, so maybe we’re on the way there. Of course, the jobs market performed better than expected in 2022 and it could do so again. Still, fixed income markets do suggest a 2023 recession is coming. Stock markets don’t necessarily share that view.

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Which States Have The Highest And Lowest Life Expectancies?



There’s a wide variance of life expectancies among the 50 states in the U.S., according to a recent report prepared by Assurance, an insurance technology platform that helps consumers with decisions related to insurance and financial well-being.

Figure 1 below shows the 10 states with the highest life expectancy, starting with Hawaii, the state with the highest life expectancy.

Figure 2 below shows the 10 states with the lowest life expectancy, starting with Mississippi, the state with the lowest life expectancy.

Assurance scoured life expectancy data prepared in January 2023 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With this data, Assurance created several easy-to-understand graphics that offer information about life expectancies.

Life expectancies are a basic measure of well-being

As measured by the CDC, life expectancies are a basic measurement of well-being in a broad population and not a prediction of how long an individual might live. The CDC measures the expected lifespan for a person born in the year of measurement. This measurement is calculated based on the assumption that the individual will live and die according to the rates of death that are prevalent in the measurement year for each age. There’s no assumed improvement or backsliding in the assumed mortality rates in future years for each age in the life expectancy calculation.


By contrast, an estimated lifespan for an individual would consider their current age, their gender, and some basic lifestyle information. It might also attempt to project future improvements or backsliding in mortality rates based on key factors.

Significant influences on life expectancy calculations

Leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, and accidents in that order. These immediate causes are significantly influenced by factors in the population such as poverty rates, educational attainment, rates of obesity and smoking, access to healthcare, prevalence of violent crime, and the support people receive from federal, state, and local governments. All these factors can vary widely among different states, which can be a key reason why life expectancies vary by state.

When you think about it, all these factors also have the potential to influence a person’s quality of life. The measured life expectancy rate rolls up all these factors into one objective measurement of well-being that’s based on population data.

In addition to the factors listed above, mortality rates increased and life expectancies decreased in the past few years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent article titled “Live Free And Die” summarized recent research results that show that life expectancies in most countries around the world rebounded after the Covid-19 pandemic but that they continued to decline in the United States. Many of the reasons cited in the article for the continued decline in U.S. life expectancies are the same or similar to the factors listed above.

NPR‘Live free and die?’ The sad state of U.S. life expectancy

Why should retirees care about the life expectancies reported here if these measures don’t predict your own lifespan? Life expectancy calculations indicate the general well-being of the entire population in your area. While the living conditions in your area can influence your own lifespan and quality of life, retirees should focus on their remaining life expectancy given their age. They should also consider how the factors listed above that influence life expectancies in the population might apply to them.

You can obtain customized estimates of your remaining life expectancy at the Actuaries Longevity Illustrator. Part of your planning for retirement is understanding how long you an an individual might live, instead of relying on generalized information about larger populations you see in the media.

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IRS Dirty Dozen Campaign Warns Taxpayers To Avoid Offer In Compromise ‘Mills’



Owing taxes can be stressful. Unfortunately, the actions of some companies can make it worse. As part of its “Dirty Dozen” campaign, the IRS has renewed a warning about so-called Offer in Compromise “mills” that often mislead taxpayers into believing they can settle a tax debt for pennies on the dollar—while the companies collective excessive fees.

Dirty Dozen

The “Dirty Dozen” is an annual list of common scams taxpayers may encounter. Many of these schemes peak during tax filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. The schemes put taxpayers and tax professionals at risk of losing money, personal information, data, and more.

(You can read about other schemes on the list this year—including aggressive ERC grabs here, phishing/smishing scams here and charitable ploys here.)

Tax Debt Resolution Schemes

“Too often, we see some unscrupulous promoters mislead taxpayers into thinking they can magically get rid of a tax debt,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel.

“This is a legitimate IRS program, but there are specific requirements for people to qualify. People desperate for help can make a costly mistake if they clearly don’t qualify for the program. Before using an aggressive promoter, we encourage people to review readily available IRS resources to help resolve a tax debt on their own without facing hefty fees.”


Offers In Compromise

Legitimate is a key word. Offers in Compromise are an important program to help people who can’t pay to settle their federal tax debts. But, as the IRS notes, these “mills” can aggressively promote Offers in Compromise—OIC—in misleading ways to people who don’t meet the qualifications, frequently costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.

An OIC allows you to resolve your tax obligations for less than the total amount you owe. You generally submit an OIC because you don’t believe you owe the tax, you can’t pay the tax, or
 exceptional circumstances exist.

Because of the nature of the OIC—and the dollars involved—the process can be time-consuming. It can also be confusing for taxpayers who may not have a complete grasp on their finances.

First, you must complete a detailed application, Form 656, Offer in Compromise. You must also submit Form 433-A, Collection Information Statement for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals, or Form 433-B, Collection Information Statement for Businesses, with supporting documentation (generally, bank and brokerage statements and proof of expenses).

You’ll also need to submit a non-refundable fee of $205 and payment made in good faith. The payment is typically 20% of the offer amount for a lump sum cash offer or the first month’s payment for those made over time. Generally, initial payments will not be returned but will be applied to your tax debt if your offer is not accepted. Payments and fees may be waived if the OIC is submitted based solely on the premise that you do not owe the tax or if your total monthly income falls at or below income levels based on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) poverty guidelines.

The IRS will examine your application and decide whether to accept it based on many things, including the total amount due and the time remaining to collect under the statute of limitations. The IRS will also review your income—including future earnings and accounts receivables—and your reasonable expenses, as determined by their formula. The IRS will also consider the amount of equity you have in assets that you own—this would include real property, personal property (like automobiles), and bank accounts.


Before your offer can be considered, you must be compliant. That means you must have filed all your tax returns and paid off any liabilities not subject to the OIC. After you submit your offer, you must continue to timely file your tax returns, and pay all required tax, including estimated tax payments. If you don’t, the IRS will return your offer.

Additionally, you cannot currently be in an open bankruptcy proceeding, and you must resolve any open audit or outstanding innocent spouse claim issues before you submit an offer.


You can probably tell—it’s a lot to consider. You may want representation. A tax professional can help marshal you through the process and offer practical guidance, while communicating what fees could look like.

By contrast, according to the IRS, an OIC “mill” will usually make outlandish claims, frequently in radio and TV ads, about how they can settle a person’s tax debt for cheap. Also telling: the fees tend to be significant in exchange for very little work.

Those mills also knowingly advise indebted taxpayers to file an OIC application even though the promoters know the person will not qualify, costing taxpayers money and time. You can check your eligibility for free using the IRS’s Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool.

“Pennies On A Dollar”

What about those promises that taxpayers can routinely settle for pennies on a dollar? Not true. Generally, the IRS will not accept an offer if they believe you can pay your tax debt in full through an installment agreement or equity in assets, including your home. That’s why the IRS tends to reject a majority of OICs that are submitted. The acceptance rate is less than 1 in 3, according to the 2021 Data Book.

The IRS will generally approve an OIC when the amount offered represents the best opportunity for the IRS to collect the debt. It’s true that there’s a formula that the IRS uses to figure out how much they think they can collect from you. But there is some wiggle room to account for special circumstances, including a loss of income or a medical condition. It’s worth noting those are the exceptions, not the rule.


While submitting an OIC may keep the IRS from calling you, it doesn’t stop all collections activities—don’t believe companies that suggest that submitting an OIC will make your tax debt disappear. Penalties and interest will continue to accrue on your outstanding tax liability. Additionally, the IRS may keep your tax refund, including interest, through the date the IRS accepts your OIC.

You may also be liened. In most cases, the IRS will file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien to protect their interests, and the lien will generally stay in place until your tax obligation is satisfied.

Be Skeptical

An OIC is a serious effort to resolve tax debt and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be skeptical—if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. If you’re considering an OIC, hire a competent tax professional who understands the rules and is willing to level with you about your chances of being successful—including other options. Don’t fall into a trap that can make your situation worse.

MORE FROM FORBESIRS Urges Those Hoping To Help To Beware Of Scammers Using Fake Charities

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