This past weekend was one hour shorter than usual. But that still left plenty of time for many local CEOs, tech and biotech workers, entrepreneurs, and private investors to freak out.
They were panicked, of course, about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, along with some added worry about the First Republic, which like SVB has a significant Massachusetts presence.
And while the immediate crisis was averted even before the Oscar ceremony ended (at least I think it ended, I tuned out at 11 p.m.), everything everywhere all at once was about: Is my money safe?
Or for employers: Do we still own our business?
Not all was quiet on the west suburban front where a long line of customers stood in the parking lot of SVB’s Wellesley Hills branch Monday looking to close their accounts, even after the federal government said on Sunday it would guarantee all deposits.
As of mid-2022, the Wellesley branch alone had $1.2 billion in deposits, according to the most recent FDIC data. For the most part, the lined-up customers were not tech and biotech entrepreneurs that made up most of the bank’s clientele but former Boston Private customers who became SVB clients through SVB’s acquisition of that bank two years ago, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports.
But more than half of US tech and life sciences startups banked with SVB. That includes many in our chamber communities. SVB also had its regional office in a 32,000 SF space at 275 Grove Street in Auburndale and, according to reports, 250 local employees.
And the SVB rescue hardly ends the worries, notes the Globe's Aaron Pressman and Jon Chesto: "SVB also supported startups through lending, research, and other promotional activities, in addition to helping the companies raise money from investors."
Yesterday our chamber heard from a number of local companies, some looking for referrals, saying they were scrambling to find a new financial home.
I also spoke to local bankers who said they spent their weekend reassuring depositors that their money was safe (and by all accounts, it is, our community banks have a very different business model) while fielding calls from potential new customers.