US regulators race to stem SVB collapse panic: reports

STORY: Queues were seen outside a First Republic Bank branch in California on Saturday, with worried customers wanting to withdraw funds after the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Startup-focused lender SVB Financial Group on Friday became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis.

It’s worrying some analysts and prominent investors, who warned on Saturday that without a resolution by Monday, other banks could come under pressure if people worried about their deposits.

Media reports on Saturday said U.S. financial authorities were racing to contain the fallout of the collapse.

With Bloomberg News saying the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, were weighing the creation of a fund that would allow regulators to backstop more deposits at banks that run into trouble.

According to the report, regulators discussed the so-called “new special vehicle” with banking executives, in hope that such a measure would reassure depositors and help stem any panic.

The Federal Reserve declined to comment on the report, while FDIC did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The White House said earlier on Saturday that President Joe Biden had spoken with California Governor Gavin Newsom about efforts to address the issue, but did not give details.

In a statement, Newsom said, "Everyone is working with FDIC to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible."

This comes as sources told Reuters, SVB’s downward spiral was kicked off by a warning from Moody’s that it was preparing to downgrade the bank’s credit rating, just days before it imploded.

And it was its failed response to the prospect of the downgrade that eventually led to the two-day run on the bank.

That wiped out more than $100 billion in market value for U.S. banks, before regulators stepped in on Friday and put the bank in receivership.