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Ron O'Hanley, president and chief executive officer of State Street Corp., at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A growing number of market analysts are voicing concerns that the repo market shock in September may have been the first signal of a wide-ranging liquidity shortage, and now those warnings are being echoed by the heads of major banks.

The state of play: "Despite the fact that bank balance sheets are quite strong, I think you’ll see more moments like this going forward," Ron O'Hanley, president and CEO of State Street, said during the Institute of International Finance's annual membership meeting on Saturday.

What's happening: Even with the Fed's commitment to pump $60 billion a month into financial markets, there still may not be enough funding because of regulations, changes to market structure, and banks' desire to keep their reserve levels high.

  • Strategist from JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America sent recent notes also warning of the funding issues.
  • Additionally, the increase of passive investments and major flows from pension funds and large asset managers into private equity funds is drying out typical sources of liquidity to the stock market and could mean major outflows in the face of bad news.

What they're saying: Brian Porter, president and CEO of Scotiabank, said he also is worried about the health of the so-called shadow banking sector — firms that are not banks but lend money to consumers for things like auto loans or home mortgages and aren't subject to the same regulations.

The shadow banking sector is largely private and little is known about how much money the insurance companies, hedge funds, private equity funds and payday lenders that make up the industry actually have.

  • "Regulators have been very successful in distributing risk," O'Hanley said. "It’s now been very much deconcentrated. But it hasn’t gone away; it’s been moved."

Don't sleep: IIF president and CEO Tim Adams likened it to the market for mortgage-backed securities before the housing bubble burst in 2007, triggering the global financial crisis.

  • "We used to make the same case on securitization of mortgages — that we could slice them and dice them and we distribute risk globally and it was a safer system because it was distributed," Adams said.
  • "We found out that wasn’t necessarily the case."

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

7 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.