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Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) bankruptcy. CEO Gregory Becker before the US Senate Banking Committee

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Gregory Becker, the former CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, said he was “very sorry” for the “devastating” collapse that triggered the worst banking crisis since 2008.

Becker testified before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee about the collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank. He was accompanied by two members of the management board from the also bankrupt Signature Bank. Becker said in a speech that the bank was responding correctly to regulators’ concerns about risk management and was working to resolve the issues before an “unprecedented” panic and withdrawal of deposits led to its collapse.

“The acquisition of SVB has been devastating both personally and professionally and I am truly sorry for the impact it has had on SVB employees, customers and shareholders,” said Becker.

Former Signature Bank board members, in turn, argued to committee members that it could have survived had regulators not decided to shut it down.

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Gregory BeckerDrew Angerer/Getty Images

California banking regulators quickly made the decision to close SVB on March 10 after depositors withdrew $42 billion in 24 hours. Regulators shut down Signature on March 12 after also encountering liquidity issues following SVB’s collapse.

SVB allegedly ignored “gross risk” warnings repeatedly

The Guardian notes that Becker’s words contradict reports from regulators and banking industry executives who blamed his management for the collapse of the SVB. In particular, they were accused of not diversifying and focusing their activities on one sector of the economy.

Becker said he did not believe “any bank could survive a pounce on customer deposits of this scale and size.”

Senate banking committee chairman Sherrod Brown said the bank repeatedly ignored warnings of “gross risk” from federal and state officials.

“We know your banks have been horribly mismanaged,” Brown said. “When you put other people’s money and our entire economy at risk, there must be accountability for this level of mismanagement.”

Main photo source: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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