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U.S. government guarantees all Silicon Valley Bank deposits, money available Monday

Financial regulators said Sunday night depositors of the failed Silicon Valley Bank will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13, while announcing new facilities to backstop deposit withdrawals across the banking system amid fears of contagion following SVB's shock failure last week.

In a joint statement, the heads of the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and FDIC said: "After receiving a recommendation from the boards of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve, and consulting with the President, Secretary Yellen approved actions enabling the FDIC to complete its resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, California, in a manner that fully protects all depositors."

"Depositors will have access to all of their money starting Monday, March 13," the statement added. "No losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by the taxpayer."

The Federal Reserve also said it will offer funding to banks through a new facility to help ensure banks can meet all depositor withdrawals, essentially backstopping all deposits — both those insured and uninsured — across the U.S. financial system.

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The Fed's financing will be made available through the creation of a new Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP), offering loans of up to one year to banks, savings associations, and credit unions pledging U.S. Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, and other qualifying assets as collateral.

According to the Fed, the BTFP will be an additional source of liquidity against high-quality securities, eliminating an institution's need to quickly sell those securities in times of stress.

The Fed said it is carefully monitoring developments in financial markets.

A Silicon Valley Bank sign is shown at the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, March 10, 2023. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is seizing the assets of Silicon Valley Bank, marking the largest bank failure since Washington Mutual during the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The FDIC ordered the closure of Silicon Valley Bank and immediately took position of all deposits at the bank Friday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A Silicon Valley Bank sign is shown at the company's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday, March 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"The Federal Reserve is prepared to address any liquidity pressures that may arise," the central bank said in a release. "This action will bolster the capacity of the banking system to safeguard deposits and ensure the ongoing provision of money and credit to the economy."

The lending facility is designed by the Fed to cover all insured deposits in the U.S. banking system and will be backed by a $25 billion exchange stabilization fund at Treasury, which officials do not expect to tap.

Fed officials told the media on a call Sunday evening these actions were designed to provide more liquidity and reduce contagion and should help prevent contagion to small medium large banks.

The Fed is not purchasing securities at banks only lending against their book value. Fed officials stressed no bank is being bailed out, but banks are instead receiving longer-term liquidity at a higher valuation and lower risk.

Auction delayed, Signature Bank seized

On a call with the media late Sunday, a Treasury official noted the government did seek bids for Silicon Valley Bank's assets, but officials opted not to proceed with an auction given the fluidity of the situation.

With the government aiming to open banks Monday morning, regulators determined it would be better to rely on the deposit insurance fund to assure money would be available to depositors.

Treasury officials noted that are some institutions which have similarities to Silicon Valley Bank, and concerns about depositors at those institutions remains.

Similar to the Fed's position, Treasury officials stressed these actions protect depositors, not investors, and pushed back on the notion these actions constitute a bailout given equity and bondholders in Silicon Valley Bank will be wiped out.

In their joint statement, regulators also announced a similar systemic risk exception for Signature Bank (SBNY), which was closed on Sunday by its state chartering authority. All depositors of this institution will be made whole. As with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank, no losses will be borne by the taxpayer.

Signature Bank's closure marks the third-largest U.S. bank failure.

On Friday, Silicon Valley Bank became the largest bank to fail since Seattle's Washington Mutual during the height of the 2008 financial crisis and, behind Washington Mutual, and the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history. It was also the first bank to fail since 2020.

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