On Friday, Silicon Valley Bank, a lender to some of the biggest names in the technology world, became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis. The move put nearly $175 billion in customer deposits under the control of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The failure of Silicon Valley Bank has raised concerns about other banks, and the impact it will have on the broader financial industry.
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation shut down Silicon Valley Bank on Friday, less than two days after the bank tried to persuade clients not to pull their money over concerns it was running low on available cash. The regulator appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as the receiver. The F.D.I.C. created a new bank, the National Bank of Santa Clara, to hold the deposits and other assets of the failed one.
Flush with cash from high-flying start-ups, Silicon Valley Bank bought huge amounts of bonds more than a year ago. Like other banks, Silicon Valley Bank kept a small amount of the deposits on hand and invested the rest with the hope of earning a return. That had worked well until the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates last year to cool inflation. At the same time, start-up funding started to dry up, putting pressure on many of the bank’s clients — who then began to withdraw their money. To pay those requests, Silicon Valley Bank was forced to sell off some of its investments at a time when their value had declined. In its surprise disclosure on Wednesday, the bank said it had lost nearly $2 billion.
As the start-up ecosystem tries to make sense of Silicon Valley Bank’s implosion, some entrepreneurs whose funds are frozen at the bank are turning to loans to make payroll. Silicon Valley Bank provided banking services to nearly half of venture capital-backed technology and life-science companies, according to its website, and over 2,500 venture capital firms, including Lightspeed, Bain Capital and Insight Partners.