Mar 13, 2023 - Economy

Federal Reserve says it will conduct review of Silicon Valley Bank failure

Michael Barr, vice chair for supervision at the US Federal Reserve, speaks during a Financial Stability Oversight Council meeting last year. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will conduct a review of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank — including any possible regulatory or supervisory missteps — with results to be publicly released by May 1, the central bank said on Monday.

Details: The review will be led by Michael Barr, the Fed's vice chair for supervision, who was confirmed to the post last summer.

What they're saying: “We need to have humility, and conduct a careful and thorough review of how we supervised and regulated this firm, and what we should learn from this experience,” said Barr.

  • “The events surrounding Silicon Valley Bank demand a thorough, transparent, and swift review by the Federal Reserve,” chair Jerome Powell said in a statement.

The backstory: The Fed moved to loosen certain regulations for mid-sized banks in 2019, which then-Fed governor Lael Brainard (now a top economic official at the White House) warned at the time could pose substantial risks.

  • Those moves are top-of-mind for some Democratic lawmakers who are pinning the blame of recent bank collapses in part on the regulatory rollbacks.
  • That includes Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said in a New York Times op-ed that Silicon Valley Bank and failed Signature Bank would have been "subject to stronger liquidity and capital requirements to withstand financial shocks."

Between the lines: Silicon Valley Bank was supervised by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

  • The bank's CEO was a member of the San Francisco Fed's board of directors until Friday, when the bank was closed by regulators, Reuters reported.
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