Fed-seized Silicon Valley Bank focused on DEI, 'safe spaces' before collapse

The company spent money on a month-long LGBTQ pride campaign and a new online resource for LGBTQ youth.

Silicon Valley Bank, the second-largest U.S. bank to collapse, had recently been putting effort into multiple LGBTQ diversity programs, including a "safe space," just before the institution folded.

As reported by the New York Post, the company spent money on a month-long LGBTQ pride campaign and a new online resource for LGBTQ youth spearheaded by Jay Ersapah, head of Financial Risk Management at the bank's UK branch.

"As a queer person of color and a first-generation immigrant from a working-class background, there were not many role models for me to 'see' growing up," said Ersapah of the diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

The blog was advertised as a "safe space catch-up" where LGBTQ individuals were encouraged to share their "coming out" stories. 

"Ersapah also spent time over the last year serving as a director for Diversity Role Models and volunteering as a mentor for Migrant Leaders," the Post outlined.

The outlet reported that the SVB executive's efforts as the co-chair of the firm's European LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group co-chair "earned her a spot on SVB's 'outstanding LGBT+ Role Model Lists 2022.'"

"I feel privileged to co-chair the LGBTQ+ ERG and help spread awareness of lived queer experiences, partner with charitable organizations, and above all, create a sense of community for our LGBTQ+ employees and allies," said Ersapah in a statement.

The award list was reportedly published by SVB just four months before federal regulators seized the institution after there was a run on the bank.

In a Saturday interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus slammed the "woke" bank, criticizing the bank officials who got their money out of the failing venture before its collapse.

"I feel bad for all of these people that lost all their money in this woke bank. You know, it was more distressing to hear that the bank officials sold off their stock before this happened. It's depressing to me," he said.

"Who knows whether the Justice Department would go after them? They're a woke company, so I guess not. And they'll probably get away with it," he continued, before insinuating that the Biden administration pushed companies to prioritize "woke issues" like global warming over the needs of shareholders.

"These banks are badly run because everybody is focused on diversity and all of the woke issues and not concentrating on the one thing they should, which is, shareholder returns," Marcus said.

Shares of the bank's parent company decreased by 60 percent on Thursday, then going down by another 60 percent in premarket trading on Friday until the seizure. 

“Instead of protecting the shareholders and their employees, they are more concerned about the social policies. And I think it's probably a badly run bank," Marcus added, noting that "They've been there for a lot of years. It’s pathetic that so many people lost money that won't get it back."

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