Senator John Kennedy (R., La.) berated former Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker in a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday for “stupid” decisions leading up to the bank’s failure in March.
Becker put little blame on himself for SVB’s failure, saying “unprecedented events” and media coverage that sparked a bank run were the main factors in the bank’s demise. When pressed by Kennedy to explain why SVB was not hedged, Becker claimed ignorance, saying the decision was up to a separate committee.
“You’re the CEO and … you had 55 percent of your assets in government bonds, and you didn’t know whether you were hedged or not?” Kennedy said.
Kennedy is known for drilling witnesses in committee hearings. In March, his questions stumped President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.
“Mr. Becker,” Kennedy continued on Tuesday, “you made a really stupid bet that went bad, didn’t it? And the taxpayers of America had to pick up the tab for your stupidity, didn’t they?”
Becker pointed to “a series of events, unprecedented events,” that led to the bank’s failure.
“No, this wasn’t unprecedented,” Kennedy retorted. “This was bone-deep, down-to-the-marrow stupid.”
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