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Silicon Valley Bank seems to have been a pretty fine place to work

All good things come to an end, and this applies as much to happy times that have been had at Silicon Valley Bank by employees as to protracted periods of artificially low interest rates.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) seems to have been a pretty chill place to work. Not only were most of its employees allowed to work remotely for "most of the time" according to its most recent annual report, but the hours were not onerous, and they were given access to loans issued by the bank for purchases like real estate. 

Recent reviews left by employees on Blind, the forum website, are almost universal in their praise for the "great work-life balance" on offer there. "Fully remote role. This is really good. Low stress and slow stress," wrote one employee in November. "Great culture, hours are reasonable, they appreciate and notice hard work," said a financial analyst in December.  Other analysts described the work was "unchallenging" and "easy."

Given the apparent pleasures of its jobs, Silicon Valley Bank wasn't a bad payer. Last year, average compensation per head for its 8,500 employees was $293k. The bank also made $500m in loans to "eligible employees," secured against real estate. In some divisions, carried interest was on offer. If you were looking for high pay, low stress and generous benefits, SVB had a lot to offer. 

Now that all looks jeopardized. Although the investment banking arm, SVB Securities, says everything is fine and that it's operating as usual as an independent subsidiary, US employees at SVB are reportedly being told they only have 45 days of employment by the FDIC. 

And even if SVB Securities weathers the storm, its employees may have a few issues with their recent bonuses. Key employees at SVB received deferred stock payments, but SVB stock fell 69% in premarket trading on Friday before trading in the stock was halted by regulators. Under SVB's deferred compensation plan, staff were also given the option of deferring up to 50% of their base salaries and 100% of their bonuses and of allowing SVB to invest that money on their behalf instead. Last year, the deferred compensation plan made losses of $9m. This year, the losses may be a lot larger if SVB turns out to have invested in technology companies that were its own depositors.

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Photo by Piotr Musioł on Unsplash

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ti
    13 March 2023

    We are hiring former SVB and Signature employees. Here's some information in case we can assist.

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