FDIC denies report that buyer of signature bank must surrender crypto

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation denied that it would force any buyer of Signature Bank to divest its crypto business.

The FDIC responded to a Wednesday report from Reuters that “any purchaser of Signature must agree to relinquish all crypto activities of the bank,” citing two unnamed sources. An FDIC spokesperson denied this to Reuters.

An FDIC spokesperson said in an email that “the receivership does not end until all assets of the bank are sold and all claims against the bank are resolved, and the acquirer decides terms of its offer.

The acquirer will tell the FDIC “what assets and liabilities of the failing bank it is willing to take,” the spokesperson said, citing the agency’s resolution manual. The spokesperson also referred CoinDesk to two joint statements issued by the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve, one of which states that banks are “neither prohibited nor discouraged” from providing services to any sector.

Reuters reported that an FDIC spokesperson told the news service that “the agency would not require the divestiture of the crypto business as part of a sale.”

Signature was seized over the weekend by the New York Department of Financial Services and turned over to the FDIC. While Signature board member Barney Frank (of the Dodd-Frank Act) claimed it was a political move, possibly caused by anti-crypto sentiment, a spokesperson NYDFS said in a statement that the regulator had lost confidence in the bank’s management after a bank run last Friday and a lack of “reliable” information over the weekend.

The FDIC is now considering auctioning off Signature and Silicon Valley Bank — another bank seized by a state regulator last week — possibly by the end of this week, Reuters reported.

UPDATE (March 17, 2023, 01:35 UTC): Clarifies timeline, adds links.

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