WELLESLEY — The Wellesley branch of Silicon Valley Bank was a scene of crowding and confusion on Monday morning, as dozens of customers lined up to withdraw money and close accounts at the failed California-based bank.
Though most had heard about the Sunday night government plan to safeguard and make available all SVB deposits, even in accounts above the $250,000 insured maximum, those in line were not reassured.
“I don’t feel good about it,” said Dave Barry, an electrical contractor, who came to close his business accounts.
Long line outside Silocon Valley Bank in Wellesley. Branches are reopening today and depositors will be able to access their money. The first person got here at 5:30am! #wcvb pic.twitter.com/ap9N1v92oD— Brianna Borghi (@BriannaBorghi) March 13, 2023
Barry’s company needed immediate access to its funds. “Access to capital is pivotal for us. We’re a union shop and we need to make payroll and benefits every Monday,” he said. Barry planned to get a cashier’s check and move the money to accounts he opened at other banks on Friday.
A man and a woman who identified themselves as representatives from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, which took control of SVB on Friday, were on hand and tried to reassure people in line that their funds were safe and they did not need to withdraw them immediately.
“It’s business as usual here,” one FDIC rep told a Globe reporter. He declined to give his name and referred questions to the FDIC’s communications office. As he spoke to people in line, he told them that with the government rescue, their deposits were safer than at another bank. “Why go through all that hassle?” he told several people in line.
Some took the message to heart.
A local attorney with personal and business accounts at the bank, who declined to give his name, came to get his money out but decided he did not need to wait in line after an FDIC rep told him he could use the bank’s mobile app. He still planned to move all his accounts to another bank. “The app is working now,” he said.
Like others in line, he had originally been a customer of Boston Private Bank & Trust Co, which was acquired by SVB in 2021. “When this was Boston Private, it was a magnificent little bank with great customer service,” he said. “When it got bought by a big bank, we should have got the hell out of dodge, but we didn’t.”
Others were not convinced to get out of the line.
Daniel Snyder, a surgeon, said he came in person to move his personal accounts, including college funds. He told a Globe reporter he was anxious despite the bailout.
“Nothing about the government is reassuring to me,” Snyder said.
Aaron Pressman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ampressman.