The decision to close down Signature Bank had “nothing to do with crypto,” said the New York State Department of Financial Services, the regulator that took possession of the troubled bank on Sunday. The financial watchdog insisted that its decision to put Signature Bank in receivership “was based on the current status of the bank and its ability to do business in a safe and sound manner.”
‘Nothing to Do With Crypto’
After the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) took possession of Signature Bank on Sunday, there have been speculations regarding whether the regulatory action was linked to cryptocurrency.
Former U.S. Representative Barney Frank, who was involved in the drafting of the Dodd-Frank Act and had been a member of Signature Bank’s board since 2015, believes that the regulator’s move was related to cryptocurrency. He told CNBC Monday:
I think part of what happened was that regulators wanted to send a very strong anti-crypto message.
“We became the poster boy because there was no insolvency based on the fundamentals,” he opined.
In September last year, the cryptocurrency sector accounted for nearly 25% of Signature Bank’s total deposits. However, the bank said in December that it plans to reduce crypto-related deposits by $8 billion.
Responding to claims that the closure of Signature Bank was crypto-related, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Financial Services told Fortune:
The decisions made over the weekend had nothing to do with crypto. The decision to take possession of the bank and hand it over to the FDIC [Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation] was based on the current status of the bank and its ability to do business in a safe and sound manner on Monday.
The NYDFS spokesperson further shared that withdrawal requests ballooned over the weekend but Signature Bank failed to provide reliable and consistent data.
Regarding crypto, the spokesperson stated that the NYDFS “has been facilitating well-regulated crypto activities for several years, and is a national model for regulating the space.”
Frank expressed surprise at the New York state regulator’s statement that its decision to take possession of Signature Bank was unrelated to cryptocurrency. Claiming that to his knowledge, the bank’s executives were working to provide data to regulators, he insisted:
I think that [crypto] was a factor … I’m puzzled as to why it [Signature Bank] was closed.
“What we heard from our executives is that the deposit situation had stabilized and they would be getting the capital from the discount window and I continue to be convinced that if we had opened on Monday given the announcements of those two policies, we would have been in a reasonably good shape and certainly functional,” the former congressman claimed.
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