The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, or SVB, will impact startups all over the Bay Area.
SVB banked nearly half of the U.S. “venture-backed technology and life science companies” in 2022, according to a quarterly financial highlights report from the bank.
Despite the chaos, Anmol Bal, a Haas senior and president of campus’s Valley Consulting Group, does not see SVB’s closure as “the end of the world.”
“It will not be that big of a deal, just [by] the way the American government is set up,” Bal said. “They bailed them out in 2008; they will bail them out of this. They’ve already closed the bank and withdrawals.”
On Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the government would not bail SVB out and instead focus its efforts on meeting depositors’ needs, as reported by CBS News.
Several professors at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business expressed concern about banking regulation in an interview with the Haas Newsroom, saying SVB’s leadership had “failed” in its fiscal duties. They also said the problems SVB faced reveal deficiencies in banking regulation, with Haas professor Ross Levine calling it “stunningly incompetent.”
“Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) failed in the simplest and most vanilla way,” Levine said in the interview. “As interest rates went up over the last year, the price of long-term securities went down, challenging SVB’s solvency.”
On Tuesday, Representative Katie Porter (D-CA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced legislation to repeal the 2018 Title IV bill that deregulated the banking industry and is seen as partially responsible for SVB’s failure.
According to a press release from Porter’s office, Title IV bill from the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, exempted mid-sized banks, including SVB, from regular stress testing and regulatory requirements.
“President Biden called on Congress to strengthen the rules for banks, and I’m proposing legislation to do just that by repealing the core of Trump’s bank law,” Warren added during the press release.
According to Bal, the government will stop SVB’s initial bankruptcy from becoming a domino effect for other banks, with a focus on protecting taxpayer dollars. Bal added that his main concern is that the stock market doesn’t suffer a significant downturn as a result of SVB’s “pitfall.”
Because of the bankruptcy, campus’ “notorious” startup culture is potentially at stake. The collapse of the bank has also impacted students’ job security.
“UC Berkeley students funding their own startups may [are find it] difficult to secure funding and storage over this quarter term period,” Bal said. “I have a few friends that were supposed to work at the bank after graduation, but that’s unclear now.”
Bal added that the recruitment timeline for internships and jobs in the financial sector has largely passed, and these students left without employment are “praying” for new opportunities to come their way.
However, Bal said Valley Consulting Group itself has not seen any negative impact from SVB’s closure.
“We have already seen the effects of the living recession on sourcing clients overall this semester,” Bal said. “Most of our clients are large corporations.”