Banking on success Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Financial Services

When Ken Wilcox took over SVB Financial Group in 2000, it had just been through a difficult period and was facing the bursting of the tech bubble.

To ensure its survival and position it for long-term growth, Wilcox decided to refocus the bank on its core strength — lending to and focusing on the needs of innovative technology companies and their venture capital investors.

Making that move wasn’t easy, as it meant turning away from about 75 percent of the bank’s existing customer base. The transformation took a toll both on the balance sheet and the employees, and to make the transition easier on employees, Wilcox established a culture characterized by respect and communication, stressing a harmonious culture that strives to minimize negative behaviors and discourage internal competition.

Wilcox also retrained his staff to better understand the needs of the technology/life sciences community and began research and development efforts to identify innovative products to offer to its new core client base. He expanded SVB’s suite of products to meet the needs of his clients throughout their life cycle, strengthened the company’s balance sheet, and he boosted its board by replacing insiders with world-class experts. And he began focusing more strongly on customers’ needs.

Today, under his leadership, SVB has been transformed from a U.S.-centric commercial bank serving many industries into a global, diversified services company serving entrepreneurial companies worldwide, which is helping it weather the current market turmoil.

Going forward, Wilcox is focused on the future with plans to grow by investing in growth markets, in IT infrastructure to improve both efficiency and client experiences, in employee training, in the development of innovative programs, and in expanding the bank’s global reach with more international branches.

How to reach: SVB Financial Group, (408) 654-7400 or