Those 15 banks failed between the time Trump was inaugurated and when he left office. All of them were smaller than the banks that failed in March 2023. Attributing bank failures solely to whichever political party is in power omits nuances concerning why the banks failed in the first place, and what lessons can be learned to prevent other banks from failing in the future.
On March 12, 2023, social media users spread the claim that 15 banks in the U.S. had shut down under former U.S. President Donald Trump. We found the claim to be true.
The subject emerged in partisan discussions of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse on March 10. With $209 billion in assets when it closed, it was the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history, behind Washington Mutual's failure in 2008.
Silicon Valley Bank's failure also prompted regulators to close Signature Bank, which was the third-largest bank failure in U.S. history. The bank had $110 billion in assets when it closed. Another bank, Silvergate Capitol, announced its intent to wind down operations and liquidate its assets on March 8. MarketWatch reported the bank was facing multiple lawsuits that accused the bank of not having adequate protections to detect money laundering on its platform. The bank had $11 billion in assets at the end of 2022.
"More people should be talking about the fact that 15 banks failed while Donald Trump was president," said a Twitter post from progressive political action committee MeidasTouch.
Playing the same game of partisan "whataboutism," Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that he didn't remember any banks collapsing during his father's administration, prompting journalist Jake Sherman to provide a list:
Banks did fail under trump. many. here is the list of bank failures. https://t.co/EdDZDwrsSL https://t.co/6SIbHMbr6v
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 12, 2023
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC), there were indeed 15 bank failures during Trump's presidency: four in 2020, four in 2019 and seven in 2017. Additionally, Harvest Community Bank, which was located in New Jersey, closed on Jan. 13, 2017, a week before Trump took office.
Here is a list of the banks that closed, with dates of closure:
- Seaway Bank and Trust Company: Jan. 27, 2017
- Proficio Bank: March 3, 2017
- First NBC Bank: April 28, 2017
- Guaranty Bank, (doing business as BestBank in Georgia & Michigan): May 5, 2017
- Fayette County Bank: May 26, 2017
- The Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Argonia: October 13, 2017
- Washington Federal Bank for Savings: December 15, 2017
- The Enloe State Bank: May 31, 2019
- Louisa Community Bank: October 25, 2019
- Resolute Bank: October 25, 2019
- City National Bank of New Jersey: November 1, 2019
- Ericson State Bank: February 14, 2020
- The First State Bank: April 3, 2020
- First City Bank of Florida: October 16, 2020
- Almena State Bank: October 23, 2020
The partisan blame game fails to address economic factors underlying bank failures. Many factors could cause a bank to fail, including undercapitalization, liquidity, safety and soundness, and fraud. Attributing those failures solely to the political party in power ignores those nuances, as well as what lessons can be learned to prevent other banks from failing in the future.
The banks that closed during Trump's presidency were significantly smaller in size. The largest was Seaway Bank and Trust Company, which had $361.2 million in assets when it failed in 2017.