Warren Buffett in contact with President Biden’s team on banking crisis

Saleha Mohsin, Sridhar Natarajan and Josh WingroveBloomberg
Warren Buffett, chair and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.
Camera IconWarren Buffett, chair and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway. Credit: Nati Harnik/AP

Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett has been in touch with senior officials in US President Joe Biden’s administration in recent days as the regional banking crisis unfolds.

There have been multiple conversations between Mr Biden’s team and Mr Buffett in the past week, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The calls have centred around Mr Buffett possibly investing in the US regional banking sector in some way, but the billionaire has also given advice and guidance more broadly about the current turmoil.

Mr Buffett has a long history of stepping in to aid banks in crisis, leveraging his cult investing status and financial heft to restore confidence in ailing firms.

Bank of America won a capital injection from Mr Buffett in 2011 after its stock plunged amid losses tied to subprime mortgages.

Mr Buffett also tossed a $US5 billion lifeline to Goldman Sachs Group in 2008 to shore up the bank following Lehman Brothers’ collapse.

Representatives for Berkshire Hathaway and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Officials at the US Treasury Department declined to comment.

US regulators unveiled extraordinary measures to assuage customers last weekend, promising to fully pay out uninsured deposits in the failed banks. Shares in regional banks continued to fall this week on fears the pain would spread.

Mr Biden’s team, wary of political blowback, has moved to orchestrate backstops that don’t require direct government spending from taxpayers, including the Federal Reserve’s actions.

Big US banks voluntarily deposited $US30b to stabilise First Republic Bank this week, a move regulators described as “most welcome.”

Any investment or intervention from Mr Buffett or other figures would continue that playbook, looking to stem the crisis without direct bailouts.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails