While Silicon Valley Bank careened toward its spectacular collapse, the bank's head of risk management for Europe, Africa and the Middle East devoted a chunk of her time to various LGBTQ+ programs.
Meanwhile, SVB went without a chief risk officer (CRO) from April 2022 to January 2023, the reports, as the bank apparently had little urgency to replace Laura Izurieta before finally tapping Kim Olson earlier this year.
On the other hand, a few months before that long CRO vacancy began, SVB boasted, "We have a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, an executive-led DEI Steering Committee and Employee Resource Groups with executive sponsors focused on these objectives."
As SVB's CRO office stood vacant in Santa Clara, Jay Ersapah -- a self-described "queer person of color from a working-class background" -- was splitting her time between risk management and an assortment of woke programs, as she co-chaired SVB's "European LGBTQIA+ Employee Resource Group."
For example, at the same time she was responsible for managing risks associated with SVB's European, African and Middle Eastern portfolios, Ersapah oversaw a month-long Pride campaign.
According to her bio on a professional networking site, Ersapah also "was instrumental in initiating the [SVB's] first ever global 'safe space catch-up,' supporting employees in sharing their experiences of coming out" as something other than heterosexual.
Ersapah, whose job history on LinkedIn lists roles at Citi, Barclays and Deloitte, also devoted some of her SVB time to writing articles promoting "Lesbian Visibility Day" and "Trans Awareness Week," the reports.
"I feel privileged to help spread awareness of lived queer experiences, partner with charitable organizations, and above all create a sense of community for our LGBTQ+ employees and allies," Ersapah said in SVB materials.
Embracing a broader woke agenda that eschews underwriting purely based on business fundamentals, a 16-page, January 2022 DEI brochure touted an SVB program "focused on increasing representation and funding for women, Black and Latinx founders, investors and professionals in the innovation economy."
Surveying SVB's wreckage in a Saturday interview, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus decried DEI's destructive influence:
"I think that the system, that the administration has pushed many of these banks into [being] more concerned about global warming than they do about shareholder return. And these banks are badly run because everybody is focused on diversity and all of the woke issues and not concentrating on the one thing they should, which is shareholder returns."
"I feel bad for all of these people that lost all their money in this woke bank. You know, it was more distressing to hear that the bank officials sold off their stock before this happened. It's depressing to me. Who knows whether the Justice Department would go after them? They're a woke company, so I guess not. And they'll probably get away with it."
"The phrase ‘you can't be what you can't see' resonates with me," the multi-tasking Ersapah said in another of SVB's multiple DEI brochures. Unfortunately, devoting so much attention to leftist DEI programming helped blind Ersapah and SVB to the bank's impending doom.