Silicon Valley Bank run and implosion

The Silicon Valley bank run happened on March 10, 2023, when a number of venture capitalists and tech companies withdrew their money from the bank after it announced a huge loss and a plan to raise new capital. The bank failed to find a buyer or raise enough funds and was taken over by the FDIC. It was the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history and the largest since 2008.

The cause of the bank run was a combination of factors, including rising interest rates, a slump in tech stocks, a high concentration of deposits from startups and venture firms, and a lack of confidence in the bank’s management.

Some more details about the bank run are:

  • The bank had more than $200 billion in assets and catered to tech startups, venture capital firms, and well-paid technology workers.
  • The bank run caused a panic in the financial markets and a selloff in bank shares, despite assurances from President Biden that the banking system is safe.
  • The FDIC created a new bank to hold the assets of SVB and said it would pay all depositors, both insured and uninsured, in full by March 13. It also removed the senior management of SVB and said it would recover any losses from a special assessment on banks.
  • The FDIC also took over another troubled bank, Signature Bank, which was closed by its state chartering authority on March 12. It said it would pay all depositors of this bank as well.

The responsibility for the bank run is not clear yet, but President Biden said he is committed to holding those responsible fully accountable and to strengthening oversight and regulation of larger banks. Some possible factors that contributed to the bank run are:

  • The bank’s management, which made risky investments and failed to raise enough capital or find a buyer in time.
  • The venture capitalists and tech companies, which withdrew their money from the bank en masse and triggered a panic .
  • The regulators, who may have overlooked some warning signs or loopholes in the bank’s operations3.

According to some sources, the risky investments that SVB made were:

  • US treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, which lost value as interest rates rose.
  • Loans to tech startups and venture capital firms, which exposed the bank to high default risk and volatility.
  • Crypto-related assets and services, which faced regulatory uncertainty and market fluctuations.

According to a letter that SVB sent to its shareholders on March 9, 2023, the bank lost $1.8 billion on the sale of US treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The bank did not disclose how much it lost on its loans to tech startups and venture capital firms, or on its crypto-related assets and services. However, some analysts estimate that the bank’s total losses could be as high as $5 billion.

SVB sold its US treasuries and mortgage-backed securities because it needed to raise cash to meet the withdrawal demands of its depositors and to fund new lending. The bank also faced regulatory pressure to reduce its exposure to these securities, which had become less attractive as interest rates rose. However, by selling these securities at a loss, the bank eroded its capital base and triggered more panic among its customers.

SVB’s customers withdrew their money for various reasons, such as:

  • They needed cash to pay their expenses or fund their projects, as venture capital funding slowed down and tech stocks slumped.
  • They lost confidence in the bank’s management and financial stability, especially after it announced its huge loss and capital raising plan.
  • They feared that their deposits would not be fully insured or protected by the government, despite assurances from regulators.

George Carlin comments Silicon Valley Bank run

Let’s talk about this Silicon Valley Bank run, folks. You got a bunch of people panicking and trying to get their money out of the bank all at once. Now, why would they do that? Well, because they’re afraid the bank might go under, right? But wait a minute, isn’t the whole point of putting your money in a bank so that it’s safe and protected? You’re supposed to trust these guys to take care of your hard-earned cash, and then suddenly you’re running down there like it’s the last day of a going-out-of-business sale at the mall.

And what’s the bank’s response? ‘Don’t worry, folks, we’re solvent, we’re stable, we’re secure.’ Oh yeah, that’s reassuring. You know what else is secure? A prison. You don’t see people lining up to get into those, do you? But that’s what we’re dealing with here, folks. A system that’s supposed to make us feel secure, but in reality just makes us feel like we’re one bad day away from sleeping on a park bench.

And let’s not forget, these are the same guys who caused the financial crisis a few years back. They were playing fast and loose with other people’s money, making risky bets, and then when it all came crashing down, who got left holding the bag? The taxpayers, that’s who. So now we’re supposed to trust them again? I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think that stuffing my mattress might be a better investment strategy than putting my faith in these jokers.

Well folks, let’s talk about this bank run that happened at Silicon Valley Bank. You know, a bank run is like a game of musical chairs, except instead of music, there’s panic, and instead of chairs, there’s your money.

People start freaking out, thinking their bank is going under, and they all rush to get their cash out before it’s too late. It’s like a big game of hot potato, but the potato is your life savings.

Now, the thing about bank runs is that they’re kind of like self-fulfilling prophecies. When people start withdrawing all their money, it creates a liquidity problem for the bank, which can actually cause it to fail. So in a way, the panic itself can cause the very thing people are afraid of.

And let’s not forget that Silicon Valley Bank is a big player in the tech industry. I mean, this is a bank that’s supposed to be on the cutting edge of innovation and progress. But when it comes down to it, they couldn’t even keep people’s money safe.

So, what’s the lesson here, folks? Maybe it’s that we need to start asking some tough questions about how our financial system works. Or maybe it’s just that we should all start stuffing our money under our mattresses. Either way, it’s a crazy world we live in.

But you know what’s really crazy? The fact that we’ve allowed a handful of big banks to hold so much power over our economy. They’re too big to fail, too big to jail, and they’ve got their tentacles wrapped around every aspect of our financial system.

And what do they do with all that power? They gamble with our money. They create complex financial instruments that nobody understands. They get bailed out by the government when they screw up. And when they make a profit, they pay their executives obscene bonuses while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet.

It’s a rigged game, folks. And when the game gets exposed, people start to panic. That’s what we saw at Silicon Valley Bank, and that’s what we’ll continue to see as long as we allow the banks to control our financial system.

So, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe it’s time to break up the big banks, to reinstate Glass-Steagall, to create a financial system that works for the people, not just the wealthy elite.

But until that happens, we’ll continue to see bank runs, financial crises, and a system that’s rigged against the little guy. And that, my friends, is no laughing matter.