Questions, Questions, Questions…


Chatter about SVB, Epstein Banker Jes Staley, and Tucker Carlson

Apologies for the gap between posts. I succumbed to the flu and by the time I started to see straight, it felt like everything else had turned upside down.

To me, the SVB crisis feels like deja vu. That’s because I spent the months after the 2008 Financial Crisis interviewing many of the former senior lieutenants at what had been Lehman Brothers for what would become my 2010 book The Devil’s Casino.

Is what had happened at SVB exactly the same? No and yes. In fact I spoke to one or two of my old Lehman sources who told me they thought it was right in the current environment of high inflation that regulators protected the deposits of SVB’s customers. (They still believed that it was wrong that the government had let them fail back in 2008, seeing it partly as the result of a long-standing rivalry with Goldman Sachs).

But there are echos of 2008 and Lehman in the SVB narrative. That SVB’s CEO reportedly sold millions in stock shortly before the bank run is reminiscent of the behavior of Lehman’s president Joe Gregory who had cashed several hundred million dollars of stock, and asked for a further $233 million from the Lehman estate after the bankruptcy. That US regulators worked all weekend to come up with a solution and that the SVB UK got acquired in the nick of time by HSBC after British lawmakers, including PM Rishi Sunak stayed up all night reminded me how in 2008, at the end of that cataclysmic September weekend of desperate negotiations, the British arm of Lehman got deserted by the US and woke up Monday morning with no funds. I reported how Lehmans’ General Counsel, Tom Russo phoned his UK counterpart and said “you are on your own.” You can be sure that the British remembered that, too, these past hours.


In time I am sure we will come to learn more of the details of the mistakes, the overreach, and the culture that caused the debacle, but for now we live with questions.

And speaking of questions: Going into the weekend, I spent time on the phone fielding questions on two topics I’ve touched on before. First is Jes Staley.

Read the rest at Vicky Ward Investigates