Big banks may get bigger as crisis swamps ‘too big to fail’ worries

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In the previous financial crisis, the nation’s biggest banks were the villains. This time, they may be the heroes.

Wall Street titans whose actions once angered voters on the right and left have become safe havens for anxious Americans and a source of financial backing for wounded institutions.

Tens of billions of dollars in deposits have flowed into the coffers of giant banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America following the panic surrounding the March 10 failure of Silicon Valley Bank, industry executives said.

Consumers and businesses spooked by the abrupt collapse of a bank with more than $200 billion in assets are fleeing to the perceived safety of the mammoth institutions that sparked populist outrage with their risky behavior before the 2008 crisis.

“Everyone is moving their money or has moved it,” said Cameron Hardesty, 37, owner of Poppy Flowers, an online wedding floral business that transferred a seven-figure sum from SVB to new accounts at JP Morgan and BofA. “I spent 10 years building to this point. This is my life’s work. To think of it vanishing in an instant — because of these forces out of my control — it was a scary moment.”