New York, May 19, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service changed the rating
outlook for SVB Financial Group and its subsidiaries to stable from
negative. Moody's also affirmed the ratings of SVB (senior A3) and its
main operating subsidiary, Silicon Valley Bank (long-term deposits of A2,
stand-alone financial strength of C+, and short-term rating of Prime-1).
The outlook change is the result of SVB's relatively strong performance
during the recession and the rating agency's view that SVB could
maintain its strong financial profile even if the economic environment
worsened. Moody's noted that over the 2008 to 2010 period SVB's
cumulative loan losses were a low 3.6% of loans compared to 9.9% for
Moody's rated banks. At March 31, 2011, its nonperforming assets equaled
only 2.5% of tangible common equity (TCE) and reserves. The company's
good asset quality results from its conservative underwriting and its
expertise in its niche of banking technology, life science, venture
capital, private equity, and premium wine clients. With TCE equal to over
13% of risk-weighted assets, SVB's capital position provides sufficient
loss absorption capacity in a more severe environment.
Moody's added that during the financial crisis, SVB only experienced one
quarterly loss, which was driven by a large problem relationship. This
highlights the borrower and sector concentration risks of SVB, which are
constraining factors on its ratings. In addition, the company continues
to grow domestically and internationally. We expect SVB's international
expansion, particularly in extensions of credit, to be carefully managed.
Rapid international growth would be inconsistent with this rating level.
Moody's last rating action on SVB was on February 17, 2010, when its
trust preferred securities, issued by its subsidiary, SVB Capital II,
were downgraded as part of the implementation of Moody's updated
guidelines for rating bank hybrid securities.
The principal methodologies used in rating this issuer were "Bank
Financial Strength Ratings: Global Methodology" published in February
2007, "Incorporation of Joint-Default Analysis into Moody's Bank Ratings:
A Refined Methodology" published in March 2007, and "Moody's Guidelines
for Rating Bank Hybrid Securities and Subordinated Debt published in
November 2009, which can be found at www. moodys.com in the Rating
Methodologies sub-directory under the Research & Ratings tab. Other
methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of
rating these issuers can also be found in the Rating Methodologies
sub-directory on Moody's website.
SVB Financial Group is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and
reported assets of $18.6 billion at March 31, 2011.