Shark Tank Kevin O’Leary rails against bailout even as it helps him: ‘Why did you keep your money there if it was run by idiots?’

Entrepreneur Kevin O’Leary certainly made known his opinion about the “idiot bank managers” at collapsed Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), but it begged an answer to the question, “Why did you keep your money there if it was run by idiots?”

(Video: Fox News)

Unlike many critics calling out the failures of SVB, and Signature Bank that followed, O’Leary did not go so far as to name woke policies like ESG (environmental, social, governance) scoring as the root of their problem. The “Shark Tank” investor didn’t mince words though when he blamed those running the bank that would have seen him lose around $10 million by his own admission.

“Did I get this right that you had money in SVB? A lot of money?” Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Tuesday night.

“I had many companies that we invest in our private equity portfolio from Circle on down. Circle had about $3 billion and it was the largest depositor and others. You know, when you’re in my situation, you don’t care that much about politics. You care about policy,” O’Leary explained, as he turned his concern to President Joe Biden’s assurance that all deposits would be guaranteed beyond the normal insurances of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

“What we did in my view…is to nationalize the American banking system,” he argued.

Hannity moved beyond that to explain, “The reason I was asking that question is that we all know the FDIC insures up to $250,000. I’m assuming that you had a lot more money in there than $250,000. So, you will be the beneficiary of this bailout like every other depositor at SVB. However, the difference between you and probably everybody else, is you’re saying this bank should not be bailed out. Am I wrong on that?”

“No, you’re not,” the investor replied flatly. “This bank was run by idiots with an incompetent board. It’s one bank, no one ever heard the name before.”

“Why the hell’d you keep your money — Kevin, you’re a smart guy. Why did you keep your money there if it was run by idiots?” the host asked, incredulous at the idea.

“It’s one of many, many banks I keep my money in. And look, I’m a big boy. And my whole point is, if you have more than $250,000 in any institution, you’re basically a hedge fund or a savvy investor or a business,” O’Leary contended. “You understand your risk and you act accordingly. So, I think the Fed’s mandate about keeping FDIC insurance at $250,000 makes sense to me. But we changed all that over the weekend.”

The guest had said much the same on “America’s Newsroom” when speaking with hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino.

“I don’t care what bank we’re talking about anymore, you as a depositor have no risk whatsoever so what stops the idiot bank manager going forward from doing anything they want within the regulatory environment, taking as much risk as possible to get the stock price of that bank up — that’s how they’re compensated,” he said.

(Video: Fox News)

“This is going to create some very perverse acts by bank managers and crazy behaviors and in the end, it’s not a long-term solution whatsoever,” O’Leary pointed out as he likened the government’s reported decision to that of setting a gambler loose on the Las Vegas strip to play with real money at no risk.

“We shouldn’t have done this and now we have the moral jeopardy ahead of us of idiot bank managers everywhere doing crazy behavior,” he concluded.


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Kevin Haggerty


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