Silicon Valley Bank collapses after failing to raise capital
Silicon Valley Bank collapsed Friday morning after a stunning 48 hours in which its capital crisis set off fears of a meltdown across the banking industry.
California regulators closed down the tech lender and put SVB in control of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The FDIC is acting as a receiver, which typically means it will liquidate the bank’s assets to pay back its customers, including depositors and creditors. The FDIC is an independent government agency that insures bank deposits and oversees the financial institutions.
The FDIC said all insured depositors will have “full access” to their insured deposits by no later than Monday morning, and it will pay pay uninsured depositors an “advance dividend within the next week.”
The bank, previously owned by SVB Financial Group, didn’t respond to CNN’s request for comment.
SVB’s shares were halted Friday morning after falling more than 60% in premarket trading. The stock tumbled 60% Thursday after the bank said it had to sell a portfolio of US Treasuries and $1.75 billion in shares at a loss to cover rapidly declining customer deposits — essentially facing a run on the bank.
Several other bank stocks were temporarily halted Friday, including First Republic, PacWest Bancorp, and Signature Bank.
While relatively unknown outside of Silicon Valley, SVB’s business catered to higher-risk tech startups that have recently been hurt by higher interest rates and dwindling venture capital.
The bank partnered with nearly half of all venture-backed tech and health care companies in the United States, many of which pulled deposits out of the bank.
On Thursday, as bank stocks around the world fell in response to the crisis at SVB, contagion fears spread on Wall Street. Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman compared the situation at SVB to the final days of Bear Stearns, the first bank to collapse at the start of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.
“The risk of failure and deposit losses here is that the next, least well-capitalized bank races a run and fails and the dominoes continue to fall,” Ackman wrote in a series of tweets.
By Friday, many the panic appeared to ease. Bank stocks remained largely down, but stable.
Mike Mayo, Wells Fargo senior bank analyst, said the crisis at SVB may be “an idiosyncratic situation.”
“This is night and day versus the global financial crisis from 15 years ago,” he told CNN’s Julia Chatterly on Friday. Back then, he said, “banks were taking excessive risks, and people thought everything was fine. Now everyone’s concerned, but underneath the surface the banks are more resilient than they’ve been in a generation.”
SVB’s sudden fall mirrored other risky bets that have gotten exposed in the past year’s market turmoil.
Crypto-focused lender Silvergate said Wednesday it is winding down operations and will liquidate the bank after being financially pummeled by turmoil in digital assets. Signature Bank, another crypto-friendly lender, was hit hard by the bank selloff, with shares sinking 30% before being halted for volatility Friday.
“SVB’s institutional challenges reflect a larger and more widespread systemic issue: The banking industry is sitting on a ton of low-yielding assets that, thanks to the last year of rate increases, are now far underwater — and sinking,” wrote Konrad Alt, co-founder of Klaros Group.
Alt estimated that rate increases have “effectively wiped out approximately 28% of all the capital in the banking industry as of the end of 2022.”
When interest rates were near zero, banks loaded up on long-dated, low-risk Treasuries. But as the Fed raises interest rates to fight inflation, the value of those assets has fallen, leaving banks sitting on unrealized losses.
– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report