US regulator closes failed bank and seizes its assets

The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has seized the assets of Silicon Valley Bank, marking the largest bank failure in the country since Washington Mutual during the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The bank failed after depositors – mostly technology workers and venture capital-backed companies – began withdrawing their money creating a run on the bank.

Silicon Valley was heavily exposed to the tech industry and there is little chance of contagion in the banking sector as there was in the months leading up to the recession more than a decade ago.

Major banks have sufficient capital to avoid a similar situation.

The FDIC ordered the closure of Silicon Valley Bank and immediately took position of all deposits at the bank on Friday.

The bank had $US209 billion ($316 billion) in assets and $US175.4 billion in deposits as the time of failure, the FDIC said in a statement.

It was unclear how much of deposits was above the $US250,000 insurance limit at the moment.

Notably, the FDIC did not announce a buyer of Silicon Valley’s assets, which is typically when there is an orderly wind down of a bank.

The FDIC also seized the bank’s assets in the middle of the business day, a sign of how dire the situation had become.

The financial health of Silicon Valley Bank was increasingly in question this week after the bank announced plans to raise up to $US1.75 billion in order to strengthen its capital position amid concerns about higher interest rates and the economy.

Shares of SVB Financial Group, the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, had plummeted about 66 per cent before trading was halted before the opening bell on the Nasdaq.

CNBC reported that attempts to raise capital failed and the bank was now looking to sell itself.

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