WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema pressed Gregory Becker, CEO of the failed Silicon Valley Bank, in a Senate Banking Committee about the need for increased oversight to prevent future banking failures – like those at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank – and restore Arizonans’ confidence in the banking system.
“Recent bank failures, including those at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, are textbook examples of executive incompetence, financial mismanagement, and, incidentally, the brokenness in Washington. We need to conduct robust oversight of federal banking regulators, fix what’s broken in the system to protect Arizonans, and hold failed bank executives and cheaters accountable,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Banking Committee.
During the hearing, Sinema questioned Gregory Becker about the transgressions that led to Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) collapse earlier this year, and how other banks managed to survive in the same environment that SVB failed.
In the wake of SVB’s collapse, Sinema and Republican Senator Thom Tillis (N.C.) led a bipartisan group of Senators questioning the Federal Reserve about clear warning signs – including bank leadership’s clear failure to appropriately manage customer deposits – it missed as part of its responsibilities to conduct oversight and examinations ahead of Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.
Sinema also introduced the bipartisan Financial Regulators Transparency Act – alongside Republican Senator Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) – that increases transparency and allows congressional oversight of the Federal Reserve and other banking regulators’ activities around bank supervision, examination, and regulation. This bill will allow Senators to conduct much-needed oversight of cultural and operational changes that have been recommended and are urgently needed at the Federal Reserve. The Senators’ bill follows federal regulators’ apparent failure to identify clear mismanagement ahead of the SVB and Signature Bank collapse.
Sinema also sent a letter urging the U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct an independent investigation into federal regulators’ failure to conduct proper oversight of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). Prior to sending the letter, Sinema uncovered in a Banking Committee hearing that there was a substantial lag between when Silicon Valley Bank’s problems were first raised in 2021 and insufficient action was taken before its collapse earlier this month.
In addition to her oversight actions, Sinema cosponsored the DEPOSIT Act – legislation that would claw back bank executives’ salaries and stock sales if their bank fails on their watch.