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First Citizens acquires troubled Silicon Valley Bank

NEW YORK (AP) — North Carolina-based First Citizens will buy Silicon Valley Bank, the tech industry-focused financial institution that collapsed earlier this month, rattling the banking industry and sending shockwaves around the world.

The deal could reassure investors at a time of shaken confidence in banks, though the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other regulators had already taken extraordinary steps to head off a wider banking crisis by guaranteeing that depositors in SVB and another failed U.S. bank would be able to access all of their money.

Customers of SVB will automatically become customers of First Citizens, which is headquartered in Raleigh. The 17 former branches of SVB will open as First Citizens branches Monday, the FDIC said.

European shares opened higher Monday, with German lender Commerzbank AG up 2.4% and BNP Paribas up 1.2%.

Investors worry that other banks also may crumble under the pressure of higher interest rates. On Friday, much of the focus was on Deutsche Bank, whose stock tumbled 8.5% in Germany, though it was back up about 3.6% in early trading Monday. Earlier this month, shares of and faith in Swiss bank Credit Suisse fell so much that regulators brokered a takeover of it by rival UBS.

In the U.S., SVB, based in Santa Clara, California, collapsed March 10 after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid fears about the bank’s health. It was the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history after the 2008 failure of Washington Mutual. Two days later, New York-based Signature Bank was seized by regulators in the third-largest bank failure in the U.S.

In both cases, the government agreed to cover deposits, even those that exceeded the federally insured limit of $250,000, so depositors were able to access their money.

New York Community Bank agreed to buy a significant chunk of Signature Bank in a $2.7 billion deal a week ago, but the search for a buyer for SVB took longer.

The sale announced late Sunday involves the sale of all deposits and loans of SVB to First-Citizens Bank and Trust Co., the FDIC said.

The acquisition gives the FDIC shares in First Citizens worth $500 million. Both the FDIC and First Citizens will share in losses and the potential recovery on loans included in a loss-share agreement, the FDIC said.

First Citizens Bank was founded in 1898 and says it has more than $100 billion in total assets, with more than 500 branches in 21 states as well as a nationwide bank. It reported net profit of $243 million in the last quarter. It is one of the top 20 U.S. banks and says it is the largest family-controlled bank in the country.

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