After the Fall of Silicon Valley Bank

Jonathan D. Teubner in The Hedgehog Review:

Around noon on March 9, I learned that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had shut down the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), where my company has some of its accounts. My co-founder and I were in the middle of a call with some of our advisors, all experienced hands in the tech startup world actively advising and investing in tech startups like ours. The Zoom room was empty within seconds. We all immediately knew what that meant: The cash we pay our employees and vendors was now locked up—perhaps indefinitely.

Rumors, and rumors of rumors, that SVB was teetering on the edge of collapse had been circulating in private chat groups throughout the week. On Tuesday, I began receiving nervous calls asking what I thought. By Thursday, the dam had finally broken. CEOs, CFOs, and anyone with signature privileges spent large portions of the day attempting to transfer as much cash as possible to their other accounts—or to set up new ones, if they had accounts only at SVB, as many startups did. We were fortunate to have started out with good old-fashioned community bank accounts, but others weren’t so lucky. Their money was likely stuck in financial purgatory for some time.

We had a bank run on our hands, of course. Some of the wealthiest corporations and investors in the world attempted to withdraw $42 billion in a single day, nearly a quarter of the bank’s $200 billion of deposits.

More here.