What happened to SVB, Signature won't happen here, bank, credit union execs say

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Jim Brannen, president and CEO of First Seacoast Bank, left, and Brian Hughes, president and CEO of Holy Rosary Credit Union (Courtesy photos)

Rochester bank and credit union executives said this week that bank failures like Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank are unlikely to have any impact on financial institutions in the Granite State, because they are much better capitalized and invest their customers' deposits in a more diverse and conservative portfolio.
James R. Brannen, president and CEO of First Seacoast Bank, said it was unfortunate how the media was reporting on the closings of two banks that operate very differently than Seacoast financial institutions.
"For the press to paint banks with such a broad brush in just not right," he said earlier this week. "Banks around here work vastly different than SVB. Community banks in Northern New England are very well capitalized."
He said First Seacoast Bank's assets are conservative, well diversified and avoid concentration.
"We avoid high-risk assets," he noted.
Branner added that beyond the region's financial institutions being strong, the Rochester region, itself, is financially sound.
"Look at the advantages of this area," he said. "We have a well-diversified economy and manufacturing base and a growing service economy. That's why banks in the Seacoast do so well."
Brian Hughes, president and CEO of Holy Rosary Credit Union, said the vulnerabilities that existed at SVB and Signature just don't exist at HRCU.
"Our deposits are insured up to $250,000 on a single account and up to $500,000 with a joint account through NCUA," Hughes said on Monday. NCUA is a federal agency and regulator similar to FDIC on the banking side.
Hughes said that in additional to the NCUA protections, the credit union carries excess share insurance that insures members an additional $250K above the NCUA limits.
According to HRCU's trade association, "Silicon Valley Bank was a niche bank serving the technology industry, including tech start-ups, entrepreneurs, and venture capital firms. The bank was focused on a limited sector, which significantly increased its risk profile. Signature Bank was one of the main banks for cryptocurrency companies. Their banking business is completely different from that of a credit union."

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