Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank warns that US bank failures may increase due to Fed rate hikes.

Kevin O'Leary from Shark Tank warns that US bank failures may increase due to Fed rate hikes.

The Blockchain and the Potential Impact of U.S. Interest Rate Hikes

With the recent tightening cycle implemented by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation, popular Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary has raised concerns about the potential consequences for the banking industry. O’Leary warns that the Fed’s continuous rate hikes could lead to an increase in US bank failures, creating a precarious situation considering that these banks support 60% of the country’s economy.

In an interview with CNBC’s Street Signs Asia, O’Leary draws an analogy to squeezing a toothpaste tube, stating, “You keep squeezing the toothpaste tube, you keep rolling it up, you keep raising rates, and you know things are going to break, you just don’t know when and where.” This vivid metaphor highlights the mounting pressure on the banking system due to the ongoing rate increases.

The Federal Reserve’s most recent hike on Wednesday increased interest rates by 25 basis points, pushing the current rate to a range of 5.25% – 5.50%. This midpoint represents the highest US interest rate since 2001. In fact, 2023 alone has witnessed four interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, following seven increases by the end of 2022. It’s evident that the Fed is taking a proactive stance against inflation.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell offers insights into the likelihood of future rate hikes by referencing the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in September. Powell hints at the possibility of another hike, acknowledging that the current rate is still below the intended target of 2%. However, the chairman reassures that the agency will carefully assess economic data and may choose to leave rates unchanged at the upcoming meeting.

Given this background, O’Leary advises investors to monitor the US banking industry closely for the next 90 days, as he predicts a potential crash. Furthermore, he suggests that the Fed might continue with additional hikes until reaching a range of 6.25% or 6.50%. O’Leary’s prediction aligns with previous forecasts projecting further interest rate increases.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has also suggested that the Fed could push rates up to 6%. Rick Rieder, the company’s chief investment officer of global fixed income, stated in a February note that the Fed might maintain this elevated rate for an extended period until inflation subsides to around 2%. This viewpoint supports the notion that the Federal Reserve could pursue more aggressive rate hikes.

Additional evidence of the market’s anticipation of a 6% interest rate by September can be found in Wall Street trading circles. In February, one trader placed a substantial bet worth approximately $18 million, potentially yielding $135 if the predicted hike materializes. Moreover, even BofA Global Research made a similar prediction in a note during the same month. The researchers argue that due to a tight labor market and consumer demand, the Fed may face prolonged difficulty in managing inflation. They believe that aggregate demand must significantly decrease before inflation reaches the Fed’s target.

Considering the above information, it becomes clear why O’Leary’s warning about potential bank failures has gained credence. The continuous rate hikes applied by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation can exert significant pressure on the banking industry. These scenarios highlight the need for careful assessment and monitoring as the industry navigates potential risks associated with interest rate dynamics.


The Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle to combat inflation has sparked concern about the potential impact on the US banking industry. Investor Kevin O’Leary warns of possible bank failures due to the continuous rate hikes, which he likens to squeezing a toothpaste tube. The Federal Reserve recently increased interest rates, pushing them to their highest level since 2001. Further rate hikes are predicted, with the possibility of reaching 6%. The market and industry experts also anticipate a rise to 6% in September. This cautious outlook highlights the need to assess the banking sector carefully amid ongoing interest rate fluctuations.

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