Annie Tsai

Annie Tsai

It’s not every day that you get to witness the collapse of a bank. The 16th largest bank in the nation, at that. Well over 65,000 businesses of all sizes and shapes across the United States and Europe, the Middle East and Africa were affected, and they were focusing on solving problems for every flavor of person you can imagine.

At the end of 2022, Silicon Valley Bank held $209 billion in assets, accounting for almost half of all venture-backed companies in the United States. SVB was a pillar in the Bay Area and known for being there for entrepreneurs. They bet on your ideas when no one else would. I know — I opened my startup account there when I founded EdioLabs in 2017, seeking to bring the science of early child development to overworked and tired parents so they could feel, for 10 minutes between dinner and bedtime, that they were connecting with their kids in a meaningful way. I went to SVB because they were where everyone went when you were starting a tech-enabled company. Every person I’ve ever worked with there believed in you. I’ve never talked to so many people inside one bank who were willing to help you find the answers to questions, or help connect you with an expert who could advise you through whatever I was happening that day. The team at SVB cared about you being successful because they knew that with some capital, and help here and there, we could help a whole lot of people live better lives.

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(3) comments

Dirk van Ulden

Annie - I believe you are right to remind many that SVB had an important function in technology investments and development. Without them we probably would not have the soft and hardware conveniences that we now take for granted. Their success at the top likely went to their heads and that is why our regulatory agencies should have stepped in. As a former Enron employee, I experienced that first had. Its business model was sound and resulted in electricity supply deregulation, wresting control from utilities. Too bad that, again, certain insider characters viewed that as an opportunity to wreck the market for some time. The electricity market recovered and so will the equivalents of SVB under better and responsible management.

Terence Y

Ms. Tsai, you say government officials were able to design an elegant way to protect depositors while not bailing the bank out or utilizing any taxpayer dollars to do so. Details please... If the government is ensuring deposits above $250,000 will be honored, that’s a bailout. If the government is lending money to banks to cover losses on loans, that’s using taxpayer dollars. Are we rewarding incompetent bank leadership by not allowing SVB to fail? Initial reports indicate the answer is yes. BTW, I’d recommend anyone not receiving a decent return on their savings to transfer funds to a bank/mutual fund/financial institution that will reward you.


Thank you for this Annie! I was somewhat stunned when my payroll provider wrote to let me know that my small business payroll was safe. Not stunned that it was safe, but stunned that it could have somehow been in danger. Those who cluck their tongues and say "let it burn" have no idea what those flames will destroy. I had not realized, for example, that SVB had Borel and Boston Banks inside its frame and heard from one person a concern that billions of dollars in promises for community / charity engagements could be wiped out by SVB's failure, promises made in the lead up to those mergers. My biggest concern is that the demands for deregulation, reducing oversight, are misguided and can lead to much bigger tragedies. It sounds like the SVB depositors are safe but keeping them safe is using up most of the money the FDIC had in its coffers. More, not less, oversight, I think, is needed.

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