Silicon Valley Bank collapses after failing to raise capital | CNN Business


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[Breaking news update, published at 12 pm ET]

Silicon Valley Bank collapsed Friday morning after a stunning 48 hours in which it set off fears of a meltdown in the banking industry.

California regulators appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver.

[Original story follows below]

SVB Financial Group is reportedly exploring a sale after selling billions of dollars of assets to make its customers whole and sparking a panic on Wall Street this week.

Several news outlets, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the financially strapped bank was considering a potential sale to a larger institution.

SVB didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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Shares of SVB (SIVB) 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 halted Friday, including First Republic, PacWest Bancorp, and Signature Bank.

SVB, a relatively unknown bank outside of Silicon Valley, lends to higher-risk tech startups that have recently been hurt by higher interest rates and dwindling venture capital.

The bank partners 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 as rising interest rates raised concern that the bank may not be able to get all its customers’ money back if they pulled their deposits en masse.

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.”

Rate hikes take a bite

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.

The Treasury Department told CNN on Friday it’s monitoring the situation as financial pressure at the parent of Silicon Valley Bank raise concerns about the broader health of America’s banks.

“Treasury is aware of recent developments. The Department will remain in touch with regulators as appropriate,” a Treasury spokesperson said in a statement.

– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report


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