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Pam and Russ Martens: Bank stocks plummet as runs gain momentum at non-traditional banks

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Pam and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
Friday, March 10, 2023

If you keep a diary or news journal, be sure to write down March 9, 2023, as the day that a full-blown bank run began at non-traditional banks in the United States.

Bank depositors were already nervous after federally-insured Silvergate Bank (ticker SI) announced Wednesday evening that it was closing and liquidating. Its publicly traded stock had already lost over 90% of its market value over the prior 12 months.

Silvergate had made the fatal decision several years ago to become the go-to bank for crypto companies, including scandalized Sam Bankman-Fried's collapsed house of frauds, FTX and Alameda Research. As details of its questionable activities related to Bankman-Fried's enterprises emerged, 68% of its deposits related to crypto companies took flight in just the last quarter of 2022. After Silvergate confirmed in an filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 1 that an investigation of its conduct was underway at the U.S. Department of Justice, and that it had doubts about its ability to continue as a going concern, its fate was sealed.

Now for the second time in less than two weeks depositors are panicking over the fate of another federally-insured bank. This time it's Silicon Valley Bank (ticker for holding company is SIVB) which, like Silvergate Bank, had become a go-to bank for a special niche customer. Instead of crypto, its niche was venture capital outfits and private equity firms.

Silicon Valley Bank is not a small bank. According to its regulatory filings, as of December 31 it held $161.4 billion in domestic deposits and $13.9 billion in foreign deposits. ...

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