Last week, I started receiving emails from panicking SVB employees, wondering if— or when— their paychecks would start bouncing. They forwarded me company-wide emails, asking me for help following the breadcrumbs of the cryptic correspondence, combing for clues that would signal employment and healthcare coming to a crashing halt.
First was this:
The employees told me they suspected the remote mandate was for the safety of employees, because customers were “showing up and looking for their money.”
Here’s another that hit my inbox:
Note the exclamation point in the subject line. Gregory Becker: I know you were having a bad day, but a word to the wise: not even a question mark can make pending unemployment seem cheerful.
The employee also shared with me that SVB offered free mental health resources including 24/7 confidential counseling, one-on-one coaching and meditations.
I make myself available for people to reach out to with money questions. One SVB employee had many. This is what they said, or, as much as I can share without revealing identifying details: “How long before I lose my job? Does the FDIC pay us? We’re supposed to hear but no one seems to know. I’ve been deemed essential. How does this work? What happened? We had no idea.”
I told the employee everything we know so far, which you can hear on today’s episode of Money Rehab.
But the one part of the story I can’t explain is: “We had no idea.”
Because this shows just how blindsided employees were by the collapse of the bank. Now, I know the easy thing would be to list all the things SVB did wrong. But I think it’s worth noting that the SVB executive team took good measures to look out for their employees once things were already heading south. Securing mental health resources for employees while investors and depositors are literally knocking down your door is admirable, and truthfully, more considerate than how many other companies are handling their crisis communication.
But I’m here for the employees, so let’s get back to them.
In the last six months, we’ve seen the fall of FTX— taking confidence in crypto with it, soaring prices in grocery stores, thousands of employees get laid off by companies that self-identify as “family,” and now: the biggest bank failure since 2008. How do we restore faith in the financial system?
The answer might be: we don’t.
I’ve built my wealth within the rules of the financial system, but first, I had to know the rules. I’ll be honest: if the game is broken, you’re not going to win, even if you’re playing like an all-star. But, if you know you’re the most valuable player on your own team, you can fortify your financial health against the actions beyond your control. No one is going to care more (if at all) about your money than you do, so you need to have your own back: shore up your emergency funds, fact-check your financial advisor, negotiate your bills, know the rules.
Here’s a golden one: if you’re banking with a FDIC-insured bank, that means the FDIC insures up to $250,000 in cash you have with that bank. So, if you have less than $250,000 in cash in your bank account— no action needed. If your bank goes under, the FDIC has your back. If you have a bit more than $250,000 in cash in one account, open up an account at another bank, and split up your money so that you don’t have more than $250,000 in one bank. If you have much more than $250K, look into IntraFi. IntraFi is a network of banks that allows you to bank with just one bank while spreading your accounts— all under $250,000— over multiple banks to keep all your accounts insured.
If you’ve been impacted by SVB and want to share your story, or your questions, with us, please reach out at: email@example.com