From Matt Levine's Bloomberg Money Stuff column:
Silicon Valley Bank had lots of valuable, safe, liquid assets, and it is a US bank with access to the Federal Reserve. It seems like it should have been fairly straightforward for SVB to pledge those assets to the Federal Reserve to borrow enough money to meet its deposit outflows.
And in fact SVB tried to do that, and it apparently did have enough collateral to borrow enough money to pay out its depositors that Thursday, though I'm not sure it would have survived the weekend. But the problem, that Thursday, was not that SVB had insufficient assets; the problem was that the Fed's computer systems stopped working at 4 p.m. California time, and SVB missed the cutoff to transfer assets and borrow money. Silicon Valley Bank certainly had financial problems ... but the reason it failed that day was mostly operational, not financial.
Maybe they could reprogram the computer so it works beyond 4 p.m. local time? I mean, one of the advantages of computers as opposed to people is that you don't have to pay them overtime, they don't have to pick up their kids from school, they don't have to be home in time for dinner with the family. They are computers. Here at FutureOfCapitalism the computer stays running even overnight when the editor is sleeping.
It's possible the Fed employees running the computer are using the 4 p.m. deadline as a convenient excuse for doing what they would have done even if the computer was still working? Blame it on the computer. The other thing about computers is that they can't speak up to defend themselves. If they could they might say something like, "hey, the human is trying to fob off the blame on me for its own decisions."