Thousands of shellshocked Silicon Valley Bank employees received a video message from CEO Greg Becker on Friday afternoon.
Wearing a black jacket bearing the name and logo of Gleneagles, a luxury golf resort, Becker laid out an unsettling new reality for roughly 8,500 workers who learned that morning the 40-year-old bank was shutting down.
Becker, who worked at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) for 30 years and took the reins as president and CEO in 2011, told workers that he was no longer in control and that his priority was preserving some portion of the bank’s value and activity.
“I have an ask, and it’s a completely unfair ask,” Becker said. “My unfair ask is this: Can you guys just hang around, try to support each other, try to support our clients, work together to what may be a slighter better outcome to where we are right now?”
Almost three days later, employees are still waiting for answers on what comes next.
An SVB director who agreed to speak Monday on the condition of anonymity said that employees haven’t received any updates since Becker’s message and Sunday’s announcement that depositors will be made whole.
The shock of seeing Silicon Valley Bank disintegrate in 24 hours is just starting to wear off, but another emotion has emerged since the CEO’s final message to employees: anger.
The top executive’s sale of millions of dollars in stock just before the bank’s implosion was seen by some SVB employees as a betrayal. A trust owned by Becker sold $3.6 million in shares days before the bank disclosed a $1.8 billion loss and fundraising plan that spooked investors and triggered a run on the bank.
“The human side of me was like, ‘Oh, he had to swallow his pride a bit,’ because one of the statements he made was like, ‘I’m not making the decisions anymore,’” the director said. “But then when I started thinking about it, I got angry.”
It’s like, ‘Where’s the sorry?’ You ran away with like $3.5 million that you just cashed in—the rest of us that have mortgages to pay,” the director said.
On Saturday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sent a note to employees offering them 45 days of work for a new entity called the Deposit Insurance National Bank of Santa Clara to protect depositors. The employees will get a pay bump to help in the transition as Silicon Valley Banks sells off assets.
Another employee said many colleagues are still stunned by the events of the last few days, particularly younger workers.
“Everyone’s waiting to see if an acquisition may occur or if we should simply count down the remaining 40-some days,” the employee said. “Some are sympathetic; some are angry.”
However, many employees are also dealing with the fact that the stock they owned in the bank is now essentially worthless.
“Common wisdom says—and even I know this because we work at a bank—that you shouldn’t put your human capital where your actual personal capital is, right?” the director said. “But I was in it for the long haul.”