Despite chance for credit downgrade, Zions Bancorporation CEO is sleeping well

Mar 15, 2023, 5:00 PM
Zions Bancorporation CEO and Chairman, Harris Simmons, said Zions Bancorporation has tens of billio...
Zion’s Bank branch at 7015 South Highland Dr. Cottonwood Heights on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. Zions Bank and other regional banking institutions have suffered stock losses amid the fallout from the closures of Silicon Vally and Signature banks. While Zions and some other institutions that have drawn scrutiny and a wave of social media commentary saw big drops in their stock values early this week, all appeared to be recovering on Tuesday as wider fears about the U.S. banking sector ebbed. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — If anything, when Moody’s Investor Service reported they would investigate a credit downgrade for six American banks, including Utah’s Zions Bank, they were late to the party.

That’s according to Harris Simmons, chairman and CEO of Zions Bancorporation, who spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic on Wednesday.

Simmons meant that Moody’s talk of a potential downgrade has come after some big disruptions in the banking industry including the collapse of FTX, a global cryptocurrency exchange, in November 2022. That was months before the recent failures of Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank.

“[Moody’s] has cut the entire industry outlook to negative, this isn’t just us, as you noted … and they’ve done it despite measures taken to ensure that every bank will have more than adequate liquidity,” Simmons said.

Why did Zions Bank make Moody’s watchlist?

Simmons said it has to do with Zions’ regional nature.

“Well, I think they’re looking at the regional bank space generally. And the regional banks are kind of interesting because we’re publicly traded,” he said.

Could it also be because, as the Salt Lake Tribune recently reported, nearly 51% of Zions’ deposits are not guaranteed by FDIC insurance?

Simmons said no, that’s not unusual at all.

“JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the country, is at 53% uninsured,” he said. “Wells Fargo is within a percentage point of that to one or the other, I forget which way. So … that’s not an unusual number.”

Indeed, Reuters reported this week that Zions Bank is among the top five regional banks with the most uninsured deposits.

Simmons said Zions Bancorporation has tens of billions of dollars of liquidity, “much of it sitting in cash in our account at the Fed, and a lot more that can be accessed within a day.”

He went on to say that as far as requests for money, Zions isn’t seeing anything close to what Silicon Valley Bank experienced.

But is he worried? At all?

“I had a good night’s sleep last night. I’ll put it that way.”

Other reading:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

salt lake city skyline pictured, the city is looking at letting apartments have ADU's...
Adam Small

Talks on more tiny apartments continue in Salt Lake City, council expected to vote soon

Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are basically tiny apartments attached to or built next to a private residential home.
10 hours ago
FILE - A hiring sign is in front of a Target store in Manchester, Conn., Nov. 39, 2021. (AP Photo/T...
MATT OTT AP Business Writer

US jobless claims inch down as labor market remains tight

Jobless claims in the U.S. for the week ending March 18 fell by 1,000 to 191,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
10 hours ago
Utah's Attorney General has sent a letter to the federal government claiming climate investing, or ...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah AG claims ESG or ‘climate investing’ contributed to SVB collapse

The AG's office believes Silicon Valley Bank, SVB, made "speculative sustainability investments," involving ESG in the solar industry.
1 day ago
a man pictured next to currency exchange, rate hike expected today...
Associated Press

Asian shares decline after Fed hints rate hikes may end soon

Higher rates can undercut inflation by slowing the economy. But they raise the risk of a recession later on, and they also hurt prices for stocks and other investments.
1 day ago
FILE: U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference following a...
Nicole Goodkind, CNN

The Fed lifts rates by a quarter point as banking turmoil complicates inflation fight

Originally Published: 22 MAR 23 06:37 ET Updated: 22 MAR 23 14:00 ET       (CNN) — The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday as it attempts to fight stubbornly high inflation while addressing risks to financial stability. Investors and economists had widely anticipated the quarter-point increase — or even a pause — amid the […]
1 day ago
vivint center with all-start weekend design is shown, black Utah businesses got good traffic over a...
Adam Small

Black-owned businesses look to further their reach following All-Star weekend

Black businesses in Utah will be featured every weekend in April. The goal is to get people familiar with their community and local businesses.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Despite chance for credit downgrade, Zions Bancorporation CEO is sleeping well