The British Treasury wanted to be reassuring. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt, for his part, seems less serene. He said on Sunday that the bankruptcy of the Californian bank Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) endangered the British tech sector.
"There is a serious risk to our technology and science sectors, many of which do business with this bank," Hunt said in an interview with Britain's Sky News.
"Looking for a solution"
Silicon Valley Bank, a Californian bank, was closed Friday by U.S. authorities and the U.S. Deposit Insurance Agency, the FDIC, took control of the institution, which is expected to reopen Monday under a new name. Hunt said he spoke over the weekend with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, and that they are working "at a steady pace to find a solution".
He added that the plan would help meet the cash flow needs of businesses affected by the bank's implosion, lender to "some of our most promising and exciting businesses."
Rescue by the Bank of London?
Little known to the general public, SVB specialized in financing start-ups and became the 16th largest US bank by asset size. Its disappearance is not only the largest bank failure since that of Washington Mutual in 2008 but also the second largest failure of a retail bank in the United States.
The bank was no longer able to cope with the massive withdrawals of its customers, mainly tech players, and its last attempts to raise new money were unsuccessful. On Saturday, the British Treasury assured that SVB's problems were "specific" and had "no implications for other banks operating in the United Kingdom".
Regarding the British branch of SVB, the Bank of England explained in a statement Saturday morning that "in the absence of significant additional information", it had "the intention to ask the court to place Silicon Valley Bank UK Limited in a bank insolvency proceeding".
The British television channel Sky News reports, without giving further details, that the young Bank of London, opened two years ago, is studying the possibilities of rescuing the British subsidiary of the SVB.
- United Kingdom
- Silicon valley