With the nation's banks under pressure from bad loans, and sources of credit scarce, bank customers aren't panicking, the New York Times notes, but investors are, fleeing an industry much more accustomed to being a Wall Street darling. Bank shares continued their downward spiral yesterday, with the S&P Regional Bank Index down 4% on top of Monday’s 11% drop.
The reversal is particularly dramatic for well-managed regional banks, which rode the mortgage boom to handsome profits, without taking the huge risks that have cost the big banks billions. Investors who were willing to pay premiums for what looked like promising takeover targets a year ago are now hammering them. “The whole allure of regional banks has gone out of fashion,” an analyst tells the Times. “They used to have the best perfume in the business. Now, they have an odor.”