An attorney for SVB Financial Group told a judge on Tuesday it was seeking cooperation from regulators who seized its Silicon Valley Bank unit and removed $2 billion of its cash, which was needed to sustain operations.
SVB Financial, which filed for bankruptcy on Friday, had said in court papers the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp took “improper actions” to cut off the parent company from its cash held at its former lending subsidiary, which was seized by regulators to stem a national bank run.
SVB Financial’s attorney told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn at a hearing in Manhattan on Tuesday that the financial company lost access to its deposits the day before it filed for Chapter 11 protection.
“Not only has the bank been taken, all the cash has been taken,” said James Bromley, an attorney for SVB Financial. Bromley told Glenn that without access to cash, SVB Financial was unable to pay healthcare costs for employees.
Bromley said he is hoping to create a working group with regulators to sort out which employees work for the parent and which work for the seized bank, among other complications.
California banking regulators on March 10 closed Silicon Valley Bank in the largest U.S. bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis.
The collapse of the Santa Clara, California-based bank and Signature Bank, another U.S. mid-sized lender, prompted a rout in banking stocks as investors worried about other ticking bombs in the banking system and led to UBS Group AG’s takeover of 167-year-old Credit Suisse Group AG to avert a wider crisis.
SVB Financial is exploring options, including a potential bankruptcy sale, for its venture capital and investment banking units, which were not included in the FDIC takeover of Silicon Valley Bank, while continuing to operate its businesses, it said on Monday.
The company said in court filings that the FDIC receiver had blocked a $250 million wire transfer, removed $19 million from an SVB Financial bank account, and attempted to claw back payments to SVB Financial’s bankruptcy attorneys and financial advisers, among other “improper actions.”
The company has asked Glenn to allow it to move funds held at Silicon Valley Bank to a different bank.
But the FDIC said in court filings on Tuesday that it had placed a hold on all of SVB Financial’s bank accounts, as part of its investigation of potential claims against the bank’s former parent. That action was a legal and necessary part of stabilizing banking operations during the transfer to new management, according to the court filings.
SVB Financial and two top executives were sued last week by shareholders who accused them of concealing how rising interest rates would leave the Silicon Valley Bank unit “particularly susceptible” to a bank run.
SVB Financial did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
SVB Financial has $3.4 billion in debt and it manages about $9.5 billion of other investors’ money across its portfolio of venture capital and credit funds, according to court filings. Silicon Valley Bank was SVB Financial’s largest asset, accounting for more than $15.5 billion of SVB Financial’s $19.7 billion in total assets.