A Message from Our CEO

3/15/2023 8:00:00 AM

Bell Bank News

Michael Solberg headshot

Here is a message Michael Solberg, Bell Bank’s president and CEO, shared with all Bell employees today.

I have received some questions about the collapses of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank in recent days – and how they might affect Bell Bank and our industry. Thankfully, I don’t think those bank closures will have much of an effect on Bell or the vast majority of U.S. banks, and I’ll explain why. First, I was pleased to see the swift action taken by the FDIC and Federal Reserve yesterday to support banks and help prevent any type of “run on the banks” contagion that impacts the entire industry.

Next, both SVB and Signature had some unique attributes (crypto/tech sector exposure, large bond portfolios, concentrated deposit bases) that exposed them to catastrophic trouble as interest rates rose. Bell Bank does not share those attributes. Further, our bank has virtually no nonperforming loan issues and is well capitalized – and we are strengthened by the fact we have no debt at our holding company.

Finally, among our greatest strengths is our diverse deposit base and our private ownership. While both SVB and Signature reportedly had the vast majority of their deposits in uninsured accounts, Bell Bank (like most of our community bank peers) has nearly 90% of our deposits insured by the FDIC, which creates great stability. And our longtime focus on deposit gathering, which has only intensified in recent months, has paid off by producing excess liquidity on our balance sheet. In addition, since we’re privately owned, Bell is not subject to sudden downward price movements that can cause capitalization shortfalls for publicly traded banks.

There is no doubt we will be dealing with market volatility and macroeconomic uncertainty as we move forward. Fortunately, Bell Bank remains well-capitalized, financially strong and positioned well for long-term success. Thank you for everything you do to continue to make Bell a great place to work and do business! As always, please reach out if you have any questions!