Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse is almost entirely self-imposed, but they’re getting an almost-bailout anyway. President Biden has said the taxpayers will bear the brunt of guaranteeing all SVB deposits. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) already insures deposits up to $250,000, a pittance compared to the collapse of this billion-dollar bank.
Many in the financial punditry class believe the move is necessary to prevent a chain reaction that could take down other big investment banks. There is plenty to be debated about the merits of that action, but it certainly does make it harder to accept that Americans are being forced to bail out millionaires when SVB has been grossly irresponsible with their own funds.
As it turns out, SVB was a massive donor to Black Lives Matter and other social justice causes, to the tune of nearly $74 million dollars. $73,450,000 to be more exact.
The figure comes from an extensive report dropped by the Claremont Institute on Tuesday. The report details $82 billion dollars in social justice/BLM investments by major American companies. SVB stands out as one of the larger donors, next to big donors like Apple ($100 million) and Comcast ($165 million). While at the top of the donation pool, those contributors do pale in comparison to donors like Blackrock ($810 million) and Citigroup ($1.1 billion). However, the group did pledge on their website to provide in total up to $11 billion dollars by 2026 for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs and racial justice causes.
SVB executives explained on their website the turbulent racial atmosphere following the George Floyd killing and protests prompted them to expand “opportunities for dialogue,” a calling that doesn’t seem too have much concrete investment return, but ended up taking $74 million dollars out of bank coffers anyway.
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, told The Federalist that SVB’s failure on the heels of its left-wing activism “is yet another indication that SVB was focused on woke virtue signaling instead of protecting their customers’ deposits.”
“Time after time we see the same pattern: companies that are the most concerned with ESG scores and woke politics do the worst jobs serving their customers,” Hild explained. “The rest of corporate America should learn from SVB’s failure now, before they are the next company to make headlines for comically poor management.”
The company’s Corporate Responsibility report leaned heavily on their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) actions. Some of the report’s major concerns included:
Climate and environmental finance and investment
Climate and environmental risk management
Climate and environmental impacts from operations
Diversity, equity and inclusion across our leadership, workforce, supply chain and communities
Community Development, financial inclusion and economic equality
Quality of leadership (including skills and diversity)
SVB’s ESG 2021 report Table of Contents
It also touted their diversity efforts, reporting their hired their “first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer (CDEIO)” and “enhanced workforce and Board diversity metrics.”
We provide DEI learning tracks and programming, integrating content into our overall learning experiences at SVB. Courses range from raising awareness of unconscious bias to mitigating micro-behaviors to promote inclusivity. In 2019 we piloted programs focused on allyship, and in 2020 we hosted a series of Conversation Circles enterprise-wide to address systemic racism and social oppression.
Company reports highlighted their workforce as 67% “diverse”, including 45% of the total workforce being made up of women, and 40% minorities.
SVB’s DEIT Report 2020
“The calls to end systemic racial and social inequities following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 had a profound global impact. We responded by expanding opportunities for dialogue, including hosting over 40 small group “Conversation Circles” in which over two thirds of our employees participated in discussions about racial equity issues. Our DEI-focused “town hall” meetings for employees were in response to our recognition of the need for greater transparency and dialogue around the racial representation of our workforce and the innovation ecosystem. Additionally, we provided opportunities for action, mobilizing our employees and clients to join in community service through Tech Gives Back, a week of volunteer events focused in part on racial equity, social justice and access to the innovation economy. We also partnered with Act One Ventures to launch The Diversity Term Sheet Rider for Representation at the Cap Table initiative, which advocates for venture capital firms to include in all of their term sheets a pledge to bring members of underrepresented groups into deals as co-investors . . . As part of our efforts in 2020, we launched our Missions Program, a software platform designed to engage employees to act in support of the causes they care about most such as voter education and racial justice and equity.”
SVB’s California Reinvestment Coalition was also part of the company’s pledge to pursue “diversity” over solvency.
The California Reinvestment Coalition builds an inclusive and fair economy that meets the needs of communities of color and low-income communities by ensuring that banks and other corporations invest and conduct business in our communities in a just and equitable manner.
The report from the Claremont Institute exposes a staggering amount of financial mismanagement in the name of DEI and ESG. While SVB was busy patting themselves on the backs about their diversity hiring, they were plunging headfirst into a financial meltdown.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is one of the few Americans pleased at the bailouts. Three of his wineries were SVB customers.
Hopefully the moral of this story for progressive America will be “get woke, go broke,” but no one should hold their breath.
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