The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) refuted a report that it called for potential buyers of Signature Bank to divest any crypto business.
A March 16 Reuters report, citing two sources familiar with the matter, painted a concerning picture about the FDIC’s outlook towards crypto in general. The sources claimed that any potential buyer of Signature would have to consent to giving up all crypto business at the bank to have their bids considered.
Reuters later updated its article to reflect the statements of an FDIC spokesperson, who said the agency would not require any crypto-specific divestment as such. The spokesperson referred to earlier statements made by FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, who went on record to state that the FDIC isn’t looking to prohibit any particular activity by banks.
Still, not everyone is convinced by these statements, including former FDIC regulator Jason Brett. In an interview with CoinDesk TV, Brett suggested that regulators’ efforts to keep crypto companies from the banking system may have been underway even before the shutdown of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature.
According to him, former FDIC chairman Jelena McWilliams, who was largely pro-crypto, was “basically ousted in what was almost a coup d’etat.”
“Now, you see Chairman [Martin J.] Gruenberg there at the top of the FDIC, and he has not been a fan of fintech, much less crypto,” said Brett.
On Thursday, the Blockchain Association, a major crypto lobbying group, requested the FDIC, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for documents as part of an investigation into a potential effort to de-bank crypto firms.
The Blockchain Association is looking into allegations of account closures, refusal to open new accounts and actions taken by regulators that may have contributed to the failures of Signature, SVB and Silvergate.
“These are lawful businesses in the United States and should be treated like any other law-abiding business,” said Blockchain Association CEO Kristin Smith in a statement.