Jessica Noviskis, CFA
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th largest bank in the U.S. by assets as of year-end 2022, was shuttered by regulators last Friday, March 10. This is the country’s first material bank insolvency since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history, behind only the government takeover of Washington Mutual in 2008. The bank’s collapse came as a surprise to markets — both S&P and Moody’s had an investment-grade rating (BBB) on the borrower and equity markets showed few signs of foreseen stress. Additionally, earlier last week, smaller Silvergate Bank announced it would voluntarily liquidate, and over the weekend, Signature Bank was seized by New York regulators, marking the U.S.’s third-largest bank failure.
Over the weekend, the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC came together to shore up confidence in the U.S. banking system. Via joint statement, the consortium announced that all depositors at SVB and Signature Bank would be made whole, easing concerns that deposits over the FDIC-insured limit of $250,000 would be at risk, and introduced a new $25 billion bank funding program, the Bank Term Funding Program, to make additional funds available to banks at more favorable terms, to hopefully prevent a repeat of the events that led to SVB’s demise. Both initiatives will come at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. While the measures should help corporations, consumers, and markets breathe a sigh of relief — there was fear over the weekend that SVB clients would not be able to pay employees, which could lead to a downward economic spiral — concerns about possible systemic risk and broader implications for the economy remain.
This newsletter summarizes the impact of SVB’s failure on the markets, including potential for contagion, SVB exposure across asset classes, and expectations regarding Fed tightening from here.
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