Here’s why the U.S. had to sweeten terms to get the SVB sale done


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The winning bidder in the government’s auction of Silicon Valley Bank’s main assets received several concessions to make the deal happen.

First Citizens BancShares is acquiring $72 billion in SVB assets at a discount of $16.5 billion, or 23%, according to a Sunday release from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

But even after the deal closes, the FDIC remains on the hook to dispose of the majority of remaining SVB assets, about $90 billion, which are being kept in receivership.

And the FDIC agreed to an eight-year loss-sharing deal on commercial loans First Citizen is taking over, as well as a special credit line for “contingent liquidity purposes,” the North Carolina-based bank said Monday.

All told, the SVB failure will cost the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund about $20 billion, the agency said. That cost will be born by higher fees on American banks that enjoy FDIC protection.

Shares of First Citizens shot up 45% in trading Monday.

The deal terms may be explained by tepid interest in SVB assets, according to Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve examiner who lectures on finance at Boston University.

The government seized SVB on March 10 and later extended the deadline for its assets. Bidding had come down to First Citizens and Valley National Bancorp, Bloomberg reported last week.

“The deal was getting stale,” Williams said. “I think the FDIC realized that the longer this took, the more they’d have to discount it to entice someone.”

The ongoing sales process for First Republic may have cooled interest in SVB assets, according to a person with knowledge of the process. Some potential acquirers held off on the SVB auction because they hoped to make a bid on First Republic, which they coveted more, this person said.

In the wake of SVB’s collapse, many investors were worried about the risk of further contagion in the financial system, sparking a sell-off of regional bank shares. First Republic was one of the hardest hit.

Meanwhile, many depositors also yanked funds from smaller banks. To offset the outflows, JPMorgan and 10 other banks deposited $30 billion in First Republic, but its stock continued to slide, prompting the bank to consider other strategic alternatives. On Monday, First Republic shares were rallying along with other bank stocks.

In its release, First Citizens said it has closed more FDIC-brokered bank acquisitions than any other lender since 2009. The bank’s holding company has $219 billion in assets and more than 550 branches across 23 states.

The deal is a significant boost to First Citizens’ asset size and deposit base, according to Williams.

“They move into the big leagues with this deal,” he said. “When other banks see fire, they run away. This bank runs towards it.”

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