The United States rushed to seize the assets of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday after it experienced a run on the bank.
Silicon Valley, the nation’s 16th-largest bank, failed after depositors — mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies — hurried to withdraw money this week as anxiety over the bank’s balance sheet spread. It is the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history, behind Washington Mutual during the height of the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
Silicon Valley was heavily exposed to the tech industry and there is little chance of contagion in the banking sector similar to the chaos in the months leading up to the Great Recession more than a decade ago. The biggest banks — those most likely to cause a systemic economic issue — have healthy balance sheets and plenty of capital.
There has been unease in the banking sector all week and the collapse of Silicon Valley pushed shares of almost all financial institutions lower Friday, shares that had already tumbled by double digits since Monday.
Silicon Valley Bank’s failure arrived with incredible speed, with some industry analysts on Friday suggesting it was a good company and still likely a wise investment. Silicon Valley Bank executives were trying to raise capital early Friday and find additional investors. However, trading in the bank’s shares was halted before the opening bell on Wall Street because of extreme volatility.
Shortly before noon eastern, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation moved to shutter the bank. Notably, the FDIC did not wait until the close of business to seize the bank, as is typical in an orderly wind down of a financial institution. The FDIC could not immediately find a buyer for the bank’s assets, signaling how fast depositors had cashed out. The bank’s remaining uninsured deposits will now be locked up in receivership.
The bank had $209 billion in total assets at the time of failure, the FDIC said. It was unclear how much of its deposits were above the $250,000 insurance limit at the moment, but previous regulatory reports showed that much of Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits exceeded that limit.
The FDIC said Friday that deposits below the $250,000 limit would be available Monday morning.