Friday, March 17, 2023

Israeli Banks Pumped Billions Out Of SVB Before Last Friday

timesofisrael  |  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday he’d been in touch with senior Israeli tech figures vowing to assist affected companies.

“If necessary, out of responsibility to Israeli high-tech companies and employees, we will take steps to assist the Israeli companies, whose center of activity is in Israel, to weather the cash-flow crisis that has been created for them due to the turmoil,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he was forming a special team to look into the potential consequences for Israel from the collapse, which will include the director general of the Treasury and officials from the Bank of Israel, Securities Authority and Innovation Authority.

NextVision, a maker of micro stabilized cameras, said it managed on Thursday to withdraw almost all of the $2.7 million it held in its account at SVB, according to a regulatory filing to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Qualitau Ltd, a developer of test equipment for the semiconductor industry, said it held $16.8 million at SVB out of a total of about $22.3 million it has in and outside the US.

In a statement to the TASE, the company disclosed that it has “no information regarding the amounts it will be able to withdraw in the future from the balance of the funds deposited in SVB and in relation to the timing when it will be possible to withdraw these funds.”

“The company believes that despite the material impact of the event, taking into account the cash balance of the customers, the existing balance, and the backlog of orders (…) it is able to continue its activities during the normal course of business.”

Israel’s two largest banks, Bank Leumi and Bank Hapoalim, set up a situation room that has been operating around the clock to help firms transfer their money from SVB — before it was seized — to accounts in Israel. Over the past few days, teams at LeumiTech, the high-tech banking arm of Bank Leumi, have been able to help their Israeli clients transfer about $1 billion to Israel, the bank said.

LeumiTech said it will provide financing assistance and loans to startups and other tech firms that were left without access to credit lines and liquidity due to SVB’s collapse.

“I promise that we will continue to do everything to help and accompany the companies and startups to safely overcome the challenges and continue to support their growth,” said LeumiTech CEO Timor Arbel-Sadras.

To help tech companies in immediate distress, Poalim Hi-Tech opened a hotline offering bridge loans for the purpose of assisting companies in paying salaries in the coming month against their commitment to transfer deposit funds to their bank accounts in Israel.

Meanwhile, venture capital funds hoping that a fast solution will be found in the form of a buyer that will purchase SVB as a going concern or a federal bailout that will quickly get money to affected depositors.

Alan Feld, co-founder and managing partner of Israeli tech investment firm Vintage Investment Partners, called on “regulators globally to allow SVB to be acquired and recapitalized so that this wonderful bank can serve all of us for the next 20 years.”

“Silicon Valley Bank has been a wonderful partner to Vintage and its portfolio funds and companies since we started our firm 20 years ago,” Feld said in a LinkedIn post.


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