As I wrote on Saturday, Silicon Valley Bank — defaulting on its obligations and shutting down — could be the canary in the coal mine.
The 16th largest bank in the US, which provided financing for a large chunk of the country’s venture-backed tech and health companies, was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Friday as its stock plummeted due to liquidity concerns tied to rising interest rates.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin said over the weekend that the federal government won’t bail out the failed bank, leaving depositors high and dry for any company having more the $250,000 in the bank.
This comes on the news that the bank paid bonuses to management on Friday just before the FDIC came in and closed the bank.
So while depositors will now probably get back as little as 30% of their money during an anticipated run on the bank Monday morning, the executives of the failed bank already got their payday.
The feds did also shut down Signature Bank on Sunday from the fall out of Silicon Valley Bank. Another small regional bank, Republic National shored up its finances with additional funding from the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase.
The overall market response seems to be muted at this point. Stock futures at 6 AM Monday morning are lower, but not to any great extent.
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman foresees bigger problems ahead however. Ackman wrote on Saturday, “Absent @jpmorgan@citi or @BankofAmerica acquiring SVB before the open on Monday, a prospect I believe to be unlikely, or the gov’t guaranteeing all of SVB’s deposits, the giant sucking sound you will hear will be the withdrawal of substantially all uninsured deposits from all but the ‘systemically important banks’ (SIBs),” Ackman wrote.
We will have to see if Yellin or Ackman is right in their options.