SVB's new CEO Tim Mayopoulos has had a lot to say in the 24 hours since he joined the bank on Monday. In a private Zoom meeting run by SVB for a select number of LPs and investors, he asked clients to return deposits to the institution: “That’s the single-most important thing you can do to ensure that Silicon Valley Bank survives.”
Mayopoulos, the former CEO and executive at Fannie Mae, said that the future of the bank is still being charted out, but added that depositors' actions will impact these decisions. He said options for the next incarnation of SVB Bridge Bank, its new name, is that it would team up with another financial institution or other investors, or that it could be wound down.
“That is not the preferred course here; [the preferred] is to either allow Silicon Valley Bank to continue to operate as an independent institution with a new charter under Silicon Valley Bridge bank or to become part of another organization, or [that a] set of backers will be able to provide the capital, and funding for the business going forward.”
The new executive asked for new deposits as well, saying that both existing and new deposits will be protected by the FDIC. A senior financial analyst who spoke on the call as well said that they are processing "high volumes" of new loans as we speak.
“There’s no safer place in the United States, or any bank in the United States, for deposits,” Mayopolous said, adding that the freshly formed bridge bank is “not even subject to the typical legal limit of $250,000 of the account.” He’s referring to the Federal Reserve’s joint statement on Sunday that clarified that SVB’s depositors, both insured and uninsured, will receive help in a manner that will “fully protect” all capital they have locked up in the bank. “This is not a risky thing we’re asking you to do,” Mayopoulos said during the call. “The United States government has articulated clearly and unequivocally that all the deposits at this institution are guaranteed, so if for some reason the institution can’t pay those deposits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will pay.”
Despite SVB saying that it was up and fully operational yesterday, things are still clearly in the works. SVB said on the call that it is still working to get cross-border solutions, including international wires, back online. SVB credit facilities are still active and existing facilities will be honored. As for other services and business units that SVB had -- from securities to venture debt -- beyond the protected arm deposits, the future operating model is still being evaluated.
“We clearly see that a big part of the franchise value of the company is preserving all of those capabilities,” Mayopolous said. “It’s too early for me to tell... that’s very much on our minds.” A relationship between SVB in the U.S. and SVB UK no longer exists, he confirmed.
Mayopolous said that the future of the institution is still being charted, but asked for “at least some of your money” to return as part of the diversification strategy around where you keep your cash and your deposits.
During the call, Mayopolous also addressed social media’s perception of SVB early on: “We are not in wind-down mode.” The meeting reiterates a note that Mayopoulos sent to clients yesterday, in which he said that the bank is conducting “business as usual,” since the FDIC took over deposits. He sent another email to clients this morning emphasizing the re-opening.
"Trust is a very delicate thing -- it takes a very long time to build trust, and it's very easy to lose trust quickly," he said toward the end of the nearly one-hour call. "What we know here is we can't take our clients' trust for granted. The events of the last few days have really unsettled people and put people in some really difficult positions. We're not oblivious to that... in everything that we are trying to do going forward we are trying to do our very best to be clear and open with people with what's happening and what's not happening."
Over 220 questions were asked during the meeting, and SVB said they will generate an FAQ from them. SVB has a series of calls planned this week, some for VCs and others for both founder and business owner clients.
How are you reacting to SVB's collapse? What are you telling your fellow employees, portfolio companies, founders and investors? For tips and thoughts, you can reach Natasha Mascarenhas on Twitter @nmasc_ or on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. Her e-mail is email@example.com. Anonymity requests will be respected.