Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sought to reassure markets and lawmakers on Thursday that the federal government is committed to protecting U.S. bank deposits following the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank over the weekend.
“Our banking system remains sound and Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them,” Yellen said.
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Under questioning, however, Yellen admitted that not all depositors will be protected over the FDIC insurance limits of $250,000 per account as they did for customers of the two failed banks.
Yellen has been at the center of emergency federal efforts this past week to recover deposits for account holders at two failed banks, the California-based SVB and the crypto-heavy Signature Bank, based in New York.
A majority of SVB’s customers were small tech companies, venture capital firms and entrepreneurs who used the bank for day-to-day cash management to run their businesses. Those customers had $175 billion on deposit with tens of millions in individual accounts. That left SVB with one of the highest share of uninsured deposits in the country when it collapsed, with 94% of its deposits landing above the FDIC’s $250,000 insurance limit, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data from 2022.