The former chief executive of failed lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) said he was “really sorry” for what he called the bank’s “devastating” collapse that triggered the worst banking crisis since 2008.
Speaking at a Senate banking committee hearing on Tuesday, Greg Becker said he believed the bank was responding to regulators’ concerns about risk management and working to address the problems before an “unprecedented” bank run led to his bankruptcy.
“The acquisition of SVB has been devastating on a personal and professional level, and I am very sorry for the impact this has had on SVB employees, customers and shareholders,” he said.
Becker was pictured with two executives from Signature Bank, which collapsed shortly after SVB.
They argued that the bank could have survived had regulators not decided to shut it down.
California banking regulators moved quickly to shut down SVB on March 10 after depositors withdrew $42 billion in 24 hours. Regulators shut down Signature on March 12 after it also experienced liquidity problems following the collapse of SVB.
Becker’s account contrasts with those of regulators and banking industry executives who blamed SVB’s leadership for failing to manage interest rate risks or diversify the bank’s business away from the highly concentrated technology sector in the Area of Bay.
Becker said he did not believe “that any bank could survive a bank run of that speed and magnitude.”
Senate banking committee chairman Sherrod Brown said the bank had repeatedly ignored warnings of “obvious risks” from federal and state officials.
“We know that your banks were fatally mismanaged,” Brown said. “When you put other people’s money and our economy in general at risk, there must be accountability for that level of mismanagement.”
Becker, along with former Signature Bank co-founder and chairman Scott Shay and former chairman Eric Howell, were appearing publicly for the first time since their companies collapsed, prompting a rare government intervention to support deposits.
Reuters contributed reporting