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Kuwait central bank expects little SVB impact on local lenders

Reuters/Stephanie McGehee
The Kuwait Central Bank towers over the traditional Dhow harbor in Kuwait City on March 18, 2020

Kuwait’s central bank said on Sunday there would be very little impact on local lenders from the collapse on Friday of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

The Kuwaiti central bank governor said that the exposure of the local banks to SVB was very limited and that the banks assured him that their business would be barely affected, Kuwait’s state news agency reported.

The governor, Basel Al Haroun, also stressed the “stability and strength of the Kuwaiti financial system” thanks to the country’s financial strength.

SVB Financial Group, which operated as Silicon Valley Bank, became the largest bank to fail since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday, roiling markets and leaving billions of dollars belonging to companies and investors stranded.

SVB Financial CEO Greg Becker sent a video message to employees on Friday acknowledging the “incredibly difficult” 48 hours leading up to the collapse of the bank.

“I can’t imagine what was going through your head and wondering, you know, about your job, your future,” he said.

The collapse sent shockwaves through the startup community, which had come to view the lender as a source of reliable capital.

The bank’s customers were met with locked doors on Friday. A client dashboard was down, a UK-based client of the bank told Reuters.