The fallout from regulators’ takeover of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank has rippled through to payments companies, forcing them to minimize disruption to their businesses.
Marqeta, Modern Treasury and Bill Holdings were among the companies impacted by the bank industry crisis tipped off when SVB succumbed to federal regulators’ control on Friday. On Sunday, the Biden administration announced that depositors would be protected. The State of New York closed Signature Bank on Sunday.
Some payments players had deposits with SVB, while others received financing from the bank, or used SVB to handle payments. Card networks also had credit card connections with one bank or the other. They all had to pivot when operations at the banks declined.
Top executives from Fiserv and Jack Henry as well as Visa and Mastercard have weighed in on how the bank contagion affected their operations and customers, offering comments during a Wolfe Research fintech investor conference this week. But smaller market participants were impacted too, and executives at those companies this week shed light on how they’ve fared in the tumult.
Earlier this month, financial services platform Modern Treasury announced the launch of its global ACH capability, highlighting Silicon Valley Bank as as partner. The service, designed to be lower cost than other options, enables their mutual customers to make cross-border payments, according to a March 2 release.
Venture-backed Modern Treasury says SVB is just one of many bank partners connected to the service.
The service is “a feature that we support across a number of banks,” a Modern Treasury spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday. “SVB was the first partner we announced the capability with, although our integration is live with other large U.S. banks we have yet to announce.”
The San Francisco-based company continues to monitor the status of payment systems such as the global ACH service and post updates on its website, but “we can’t speculate on future product support or operations of SVB Bridge Bank,” the spokesperson said in an email, referring to the new moniker for the federally-controlled bank.
When asked if SVB handled any services for Affirm, an Affirm spokesperson said the vast majority of Affirm’s operating accounts are held at large, well-capitalized money center banks, and reiterated a Friday statement from the company that SVB is not a funding partner or an originating bank partner to Affirm.
The company’s chief financial officer, Michael Linford, explained at the conference how the company tried to protect itself from any impact. “We spent most of our time making sure that payroll wasn’t going to go to Silicon Valley Bank, and that when we were paying our vendors, that they were going to be able to receive the payments,” Linford said Wednesday during the Wolfe conference.
While Affirm initially paused disbursements to merchants who had accounts at SVB, the BNPL provider resumed those disbursements on March 14, the spokesperson said by email.
SVB “had been through (an economic) cycle, and yet they hadn’t managed something that I think was as basic as asset liability management,” Linford said.
Marqeta, which offers digital card issuing services to businesses, used SVB as a “primary account,” tapping it to pay customers their share of interchange fees and to make other payments, CEO Simon Khalaf said during an investor conference on Wednesday.
Nonetheless, he downplayed the overall impact on the company, saying there was “no risk” for Oakland, California-based Marqeta.
“We did have exposure to Silicon Valley Bank, but it’s not like half of our cash was there,” he said at the Wolfe Research conference. “Even if the bank went into long receivership, we would not have missed a beat.”
In any case, Marqeta was in the process of moving its banking business from SVB to a larger financial institution, he said. “We are pleased with what the government has done,” he added.
As far as the impact on the broader ecosystem, he predicted there will be a flight to quality companies, not just in the banking system, but also in fintech. He argued Marqeta will ultimately benefit from that trend by offering new products that will help customers “achieve stability among multiple banking networks.”
Bill Holdings announced Friday it had funds with SVB but a “significant majority” of its corporate cash and processed payments are with other banks. The company also used SVB to process payments for its customers.
As SVB’s decline began to unfold, Bill Chief Financial Officer John Rettig said the company moved payments capabilities to another of its bank processors and assured customers with payments in process that those would be honored, regardless of what happened with SVB.
San Jose-based Bill was able to quickly pivot due to the redundancy the company has built into its system, including relationships with multiple global banks, Rettig said during a Tuesday appearance at the Wolfe Fintech Forum.
The federal government’s announcement that deposits would be insured eliminated one of the risks the company had identified with regard to its balance sheet, but work continues on the payment front, he said. Payments were flowing as of Tuesday and although there are some delays for all businesses working with SVB, “it seems like that is now starting to move forward,” Rettig said.
At Payoneer, which provides small businesses with cross-border payment services, the impact of SVB’s takeover by federal regulators was “de minimis,” said CEO John Caplan.
The company revealed in a regulatory filing Friday that it had an unidentified amount of less than $20 million held at the bank. That was equal to a fraction of the $6.4 billion in total cash balances it had as of the end of last year, the filing noted.
It’s “completely business as usual at Payoneer,” Caplan said at the Wolfe conference on Tuesday.
Asked by a Wolfe conference moderator whether Payoneer executives had seen any change in behavior among customers, Caplan said they hadn’t. “Our customers need their funds accessible, available, all the time around the globe, and they are, they will be and they have been,” Caplan said.
Caplan had been a Payoneer co-CEO with Scott Galit, but shifted to take that title exclusively this month.
The New York-based company also noted in the regulatory filing that most of its cash deposits are spread across ten larger global banks.
Boston-based Flywire had received some financing from SVB, and had operating accounts at the bank. Still, Flywire didn’t experience any disruption in its business or its clients’ funds, Chief Financial Officer Mike Ellis said Tuesday during the conference.
Flywire, which handles payments for specific industries, including education and healthcare, previously had a debt instrument provided by SVB that was terminated when Flywire went public in 2021, and the bank was a participant in a revolving credit facility extended to the company, he said.
“We did have operating accounts with SVB, and it was really the function of, we invoice our clients and those payments were getting sent directly to SVB,” Ellis said at the conference. At this point, Flywire has asked clients not to send payments directly to SVB, and it has told them that it will follow up with them regarding a new operating account they can use, he said.
Allentown, Pennsylvania-based payments company Shift4 had about $45,000 in deposits at SVB, which was “one small account related to an acquisition,” said Taylor Lauber, the company’s chief strategy officer and president, during the conference Wednesday.
Afterward, Lauber declined to identify that acquisition in response to an email.