Impending Cancellation of Thousands of Startup Credit Lines

While some of the dust has settled around Silicon Valley Bank’s demise, a number of second and third order effects are still looming. For startup-land, one of the biggest challenges on the horizon is the impending cancellation of startup credit lines. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was the largest provider of debt to startups, and still is as the new bank Silicon Valley Bridge Bank (SVBB). So, if the bank still has $6.7 billion dollars of loans out to startups what’s the problem?

The problem is that the majority of deposits have left the bank and aren’t coming back. Without deposits, the bank can’t lend as much. The bank has to maintain certain capital ratios, and with intense scrutiny, will be more conservative with how it uses deposits to make money. Many startups will still be able to keep a credit line, but it’ll likely be much smaller than in the past.

In addition, startups are difficult to underwrite. While the SVBB staff is being paid 50% more than their normal salary to stay on for 45 days, many will inevitably be let go because the bank has many fewer deposits, so it needs many fewer employees. Once a fair number of employees are let go, the volume of underwriting capacity will decrease, and the bank will opt to focus on the higher quality startups. 

Finally, startups have shown they’ll happily move their deposits anywhere, as opposed to a small business owner that wants to work with the bank that’s in (Read more...)