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Accountants gave SVB, Signature Bank clean bill of health just before collapse
By Jonathan Weil and Jean Eaglesham
The Wall Street Journal
Monday, March 13, 2023
Silicon Valley Bank failed just 14 days after KPMG LLP gave the lender a clean bill of health. Signature Bank went down 11 days after the accounting firm signed off on its audit.
What KPMG knew about the two banks' financial situation and what it missed will likely be the subject of regulatory scrutiny and lawsuits.
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KPMG signed the audit report for Silicon Valley Bank's parent on Feb. 24. Regulators seized the bank on March 10 after a surge of withdrawals threatened to leave it short of cash.
"Common sense tells you that an auditor issuing a clean report, a clean bill of health, on the 16th-largest bank in the United States that within two weeks fails without any warning, is trouble for the auditor," said Lynn Turner, who was chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1998 to 2001.
Two crucial facts for determining whether KPMG missed the banks' problems are when the bank runs began in earnest and when the bank's management and KPMG's auditors became aware of the crisis. ...
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