SVB Employees Blame Remote Work For Bank Failure
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Long-time Slashdot reader BonThomme shared this article from Axios:
In a story in the Financial Times out Thursday, current and former Silicon Valley Bank employees cited the bank’s commitment to remote work as one reason for its failure….
The banking industry has led the return to office charge for a while, and SVB was an outlier in its commitment to something different. The company’s career site touted its flexible culture. “If our time working remotely has taught us anything, it’s that we can trust our employees to be productive from wherever they work,” the site says. The executive team at SVB was spread out around the country, with CEO Greg Becker at times working from Hawaii, according to the FT.
Yet, SVB included remote work as a risk to its business in its 2022 annual report — in part because of the IT issues posed when employees are dispersed around the country, but also for productivity reasons.
The FDIC, which now runs the bank, told staff they could continue working remotely — except essential workers and branch employees, per Reuters.
Axios ultimately blames SVB’s run 11 days ago on its panic-inciting public communications about needing to raise capital, combined with its oddly high concentration of tech clients and a portfolio of long-term U.S. treasuries as interest rates rose. “It’s certainly possible that if more executives were working in closer proximity those missteps would’ve been avoided. But it’s hard to really know.” Yet they warn workplace policies could change simply because the Financial Times ran a piece blaming remote work.
“Companies looking for a reason to bring workers back to the office may find it in this piece.”