How Easy Money Killed Silicon Valley Bank
The second-largest collapse of a bank in recent history after Lehman Brothers could have been prevented. Now the impact is too large, and the contagion risk is difficult to measure.
The demise of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is a classic bank run driven by a liquidity event, but the important lesson for everyone is that the enormity of the unrealized losses and the financial hole in the bank’s accounts would not have existed if not for ultra-loose monetary policy. Let me explain why.
As of December 31, 2022, Silicon Valley Bank had approximately $209.0 billion in total assets and about $175.4 billion in total deposits, according to their public accounts. Their top shareholders are Vanguard Group (11.3 percent), BlackRock (8.1 percent), StateStreet (5.2 percent) and the Swedish pension fund Alecta (4.5 percent).
The incredible growth and success of SVB could not have happened without negative rates, ultra-loose monetary policy, and the tech bubble that burst in 2022. Furthermore, the bank’s liquidity event could not have happened without the regulatory and monetary policy incentives to accumulate sovereign debt and mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
SVB’s asset base read like the clearest example of the old mantra “Don’t fight the Fed.” SVB made one big mistake: follow exactly the incentives created by loose monetary policy and regulation.
What happened in 2021? Massive success that, unfortunately, was also the first step to demise. The bank’s deposits nearly doubled with the tech boom. Everyone wanted a piece of the unstoppable new tech paradigm. SVB’s assets also rose and almost doubled.
The bank’s assets rose in va
Article from Mises Wire