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...But the Santa Clara-based institution's professed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, wasn't a driver of the bank's collapse, say banking and financial experts. Its poor investment strategies and a customer base prone to make devastating bank runs were.
Here's a closer look at the facts.
CLAIM: Silicon Valley Bank failed because it focused on "woke" policies such as diversity, equity and inclusion.
THE FACTS: The nation's 16th largest bank collapsed because of poor investment and risk strategies that left the bank with insufficient cash to weather a mass withdrawal of assets from its largely tech sector customers, who have been particularly hard hit in the current economy, financial and banking experts explain.
There's also no evidence to support claims that the bank's stated commitment to supporting and investing in diversity and sustainability efforts played a role in its demise, they say.
Social media posts in the wake of the collapse have nonetheless pointed critically to any number of diversity efforts at the bank, such as the launch of a month-long LGBTQ pride campaign or donations to racial justice causes.
Some even cited the bank's 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which includes a commitment to provide at least $5 billion in loans, investments and other financing for sustainability efforts by 2027.
"The WOKE agenda coming from SVB is in a large part to blame for their FAILURE," declared a Twitter user in a post that had been liked or shared nearly 4,000 times as of Wednesday. "The insane left-wing agenda is BANKRUPTING our future. Go woke, GET BROKE!"
But the institution's fall had all the hallmarks of a "classic run on the bank," Peter Cohan, a professor of management practice at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, said in an email. "A focus on DEI had nothing to do with the collapse of SVB."
Rodney Ramcharan, a finance professor at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business, agreed, dismissing criticism that the bank reportedly donated millions to racial justice causes over the years as "trivial and irrelevant," given the bank had more than $200 billion in assets before it failed. ...