Silicon Valley Bank
3.0 of 5 101 reviews
www.svb.com Santa Clara, CA 1000 to 5000 Employees

Silicon Valley Bank Reviews

Updated Jul 10, 2014

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3.0 101 reviews

                             

75% Approve of the CEO

Silicon Valley Bank President & CEO Greg Becker

Greg Becker

(44 ratings)

55% of employees recommend this company to a friend
101 Employee Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros:
  • "Good people, very focused on their employees and work life balance"
    in 9 reviews
  • "good benefits, interesting work"
    in 12 reviews
Cons:
  • "They've taken the "Client First" mantra to the extreme where there is no work-life balance"
    in 4 reviews
  • "Management doesn't really listen to those who don't fully drink the Kool-Aid"
    in 5 reviews
  • Show more review highlights

Reviews

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    Global Services is a place of fear and loathing

    Global Operations (Current Employee)
    Tempe, AZ

    Prosits a job, the company has an interesting niche

    ConsToo numerous to list, but here it goes. Our COO is very smart (knows operational banking backwards and forwards but he has an unfortunate mean streak that everyone is now clued into) however he is making devastating hiring calls within global services. Is it his ego driving it? He has appointed a CIO that has ruined IT--its a company wide joke. Im glad I don't work in the IT department and have to listen to her all the time like my IT colleagues. Total wind bag who fired a really good senior leader for not "transforming" our online banking system. I think he had like two months. Funny thing is everyone that ive talked to who was actually doing work on the online team really thought a huge difference had been made. Oh well, welcome to the new SVB---your FIRED!
    The COO has appointed a head of global banking operations that almost everyone hates working for. He is a dreamer, talks big and thinks by talking everyone around him will magically make it happen. When things don't go as expected, he blames his team and technology partners. Message to this guy: its not bank of America, you don't have the budget or personnel to bridge the gap of your lack of tactical knowhow. The bottom line is the COO is very good at the details and vision, he doesn't hire well and doesn't understand that he needs inspiring leaders who people respect and want to follow, not leaders who prescribe to "the beatings will continue until morale improves" mantra. Its too late in IT, its to damaged thanks to the depredations of the new CIO. Still time to get the global operations group on track but the window is closing.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCEO, you have a mess frankly of your own making to clean up. You have given your COO to much power and unfortunately he has messed up huge areas of your bank. Clearly, you don't know much about the technology and operations areas and felt comfortable letting your COO do as he pleases but my god man, its all falling down around you while you schedule town halls. You need to go a little deeper and farther than just talking to your senior leaders who are actually the problem to start with. Do your job and clean up the COO, CIO, and HGO. Your accountable.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Great Bank, Avoid IT

    Principal Software Engineer (Current Employee)
    Santa Clara, CA

    ProsGreat compensation

    Great growth story

    International expansion

    Talented IT team (except leadership) People on the ground run this company and make things happen through their sweat and blood despite challenging and incompetent IT Senior leadership

    Great at philanthropy - Make a difference to the world

    ConsToo many clueless leadership team members in IT
    Incompetent CIO - CIO has declared a war on IT
    CIO lacks experience in filtering through , understanding problems and making correct choices
    Too many bad choices = Fire the CIO
    Lack of open transparent discussion to acknowledge and start fixing real problems
    Lack of parity between IT and business resulting in over worked and always criticized and under appreciated IT team

    Advice to Senior ManagementI agree with all the past reviews . CIO needs to be fired and replaced with someone who can unify the team and bring in more positivity

    One comment - CIO is no longer new. . Average CIO tenures are 3-4 yrs . At 13 months in, clueless CIO has already finished 30% of tenure and has nothing to show for delivery.

    Accelerate CIO's departure. You have hired someone who doesn't understand and fit into the companys values and culture,
    CEO Greg Becker needs to step in to stop the rot impacting employees ,

    CEO- please end the CIO's misery by taking her out and also take IT away from COO

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Our CIO is TERRIBLE

    Senior IT Project Manager (Current Employee)
    Santa Clara, CA

    ProsGreat benefits and pay along with flex work hours

    ConsOur CIO Beth Devin has turned out to be a nightmare. I used to be filled with hope when she first joined a year + back, but she has steadily proven through her actions that she doesn't have a clue--and doesn't care to get a clue. She let go one of our best senior leaders in engineering recently and that seems to be the nail in the coffin. He was the only one seemingly with a vision as our CIO keeps flip flopping from one priority to another depending on the week. Now, nobody in the senior management team is trustworthy and they are all tainted--everyone is scared and out for themselves at the expense of the company and IT which is the real tragedy unfolding here. The CIO actually gave a speech after she made her "breath of fresh air" moves that if your not with her on her latest moves, get out of the company. Inspiring. Great values. Message: agree with me or get fired. Others in the company who are really outstanding contributors and know their stuff are getting sidelined and marginalized---a disaster in the making as they scramble for the exits. Who is going to be left to do the work? Im sure the CIO will continue to blame others for her own failures as she likes to prattle on constantly about taking more ownership and accountability yet doesn't follow her own rules. The two posts on here applauding the CIO are very poorly done plants--its well known in IT that she asked her remaining leadership team to post positive items due to prospective recruits reading what is really going on. Don't listen to them, IT is truly hell. CIO has done nothing in over a year except demotivate and disrupt the entire IT operation. Her new hires in management are weak--either know nothing about IT or are slow, scared, and ineffective. Don't know much about the last CIO, but it had to have been better than this!

    Advice to Senior ManagementClearly, fire your CIO and save IT. At the same time, hold your COO accountable as well---he is the mover behind the scenes allowing this nightmare to begin and continue. CEO needs to be more involved and accountable.

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Surprised by the "Fresh of Breath Air" review, because IT really stinks. Time for IT Employees to speak up.

    Manager (Current Employee)
    Tempe, AZ

    ProsOur CEO Greg puts employees and SVB's clients first. He thinks that employees are true assets. But lets talk about the IT, since it really is a place that stinks because of its CIO.

    ConsI was really surprised by the positive reviews here, as it looks like somebody is smoking weeds here. I am even suspecting these reviews are written by the CIO herself or her close aids. The reality is that breath after all is not so fresh, particularly when nothing has been done after a year. It actually stinks.

    In past few years, IT organization was not perfect, but it was working well enough to make SVB successful. But the new CIO ruined it all. By the name of change, she has created a culture where no one can question her, a culture which promotes difference between new vs old employees. She thinks that anyone who has been here before her is incompetent, and does not want to change. The reality is that she has no skills to recognize true talent or manage any kind of organizational change. Because of her, IT in its current state stinks.

    She complains about old employees and IT as a whole as if she is an outsider. She never even attempted to learn IT, the team or what was actually done. This IT team is the same team who worked extra ordinarily hard to open SVB's 2 international branches in China and UK. And the true recognition is that branch in China was opened in a record time, while the UK was one of the most complex operation ever. But she continues to see this team as a bad team, and team who resist change but over here work speaks for itself. These employees had delivered truly amazing stuff.

    Now look at her record. What has she done in last one year? This question has been asked constantly in many reviews. Nothing, except she continued to fire people because they challenged her. Many people think that these folks were fired because they were incompetent, but truth is they challenged her style of work and her decisions as she continued to ruin the IT. She likes to talk, and just talk without substance, because she has nothing tangible to show. So she distracts business by bad mouthing her own team.
    All negative reviews speaks collectively of who she really is.

    Now let's some talk about Old Vs New Employees.

    Something about Old Employees - these are the same IT employees who worked very hard in making this company successful. Worked hard enough that even during the greatest recession after the great depression, SVB continued to grow and earned profit. So one day, new employees can come and join this organization, and be part of SVB's growth story. Our own CEO has been here for more than 2 decades, does it mean he is incompetent too?

    Message to New Employees (Well, I am not that old either) - Ask yourself, if you really think you were joining a team of incompetent people, if so then why did you even join? What problems were you hired to solve? If you think you are such a true reformist, the only company you chose to join was SVB! Really? Please look within before you point fingers. Respect the fact, that you are given an opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds. I am not saying all are good and best, but this is how teams are formed all across the world even in the most successful organizations. Let me not question you, because I know you all new hires bring amazing talent to this company and has good intentions but think about it. Do you really think that the person who was your onboarding buddy, who welcomed you to SVB, who helped you understand the company, who helped you understand the technology stack, and shared who is who of this company, is a stupid!!!!! Its a great compliment to have this good mix, while these employees working together to take this company to next stage and not create new vs old culture. Please don't fall for new vs old debate just because the CIO is so damn incompetent. Because she just creating a distraction. Don't consider her new anymore, she has been here for more than a year now.

    Many of the IT Employees who have been here will tell you that almost everyone has worked 15-16 hours daily, weekend after weekend to make this company successful. Not because they were being paid, but because they always care. They care for SVB, they care for SVB's clients and care for each other.

    I wish if I could recommend this company to my friend, but IT at its current stage stinks. So unless this is resolved please stay away.

    I would request every IT employee to stand up and raise their voice. I know you are reading this, so use the power of social media and let the management know that its time to Fire the incompetent CIO and save IT.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease save IT. It is a great company, so please do something about IT before its too late. And before we all started to look for a job outside.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    5 people found this helpful  

    Warning! While business side may be good, IT is becoming hell!

    Does Not Matter (Current Employee)
    Santa Clarita, CA

    ProsSVB as a company takes proud in their clients, our CEO, an amazing leader, makes every attempt to communicate and let the employees know that SVB is all about clients and their success, and everything else will simply follow suit. It is a unique place, unique business model, provides a unique business experience but its all true if you are on the business side, however as soon as you come to IT you enter in hell.

    ConsWhile I have many positives to say for business side, including client focus and the CEO, I am an ITer and therefore my review is mostly focus on IT. The current CIO is clueless, inexperienced and has no vision or direction. Once not so perfect but stable and high performing IT team is completely demoralized now. She (CIO) started the re-org and could not finish it in more than a year now. Its chaos all over. No one, absolutely no one, in IT knew what their new role would be, what job responsibilities, if its changed or not and how does it affect them; except that she continue to say to keep focusing on work. Really!! Which work? The new, the old or something in the middle?
    She also started something called Fit for Future IT, which was primarily focused on IT off-shoring and outsourcing analysis, and she many times told employees that she would share result by Nov 2013, but here we are after many many months and there are no results so far.
    She does not take decisions, or let me say it this way, she takes a decision but no one knows how tomorrow will change it again and she may want something completely different. Completely clueless and directionless!!
    On her F3IT initiative, she has asked IT Management to covert contractors to employees, with no headcount approval what so ever. So then how? Well, just hire employees as long as your budget does not increase. She does not get a a simple formula that when a manager wants to covert an offshore contractor position to FTE, its at least 3-4 times cost? So who the hell will take care of the additional 3 headcounts worth of work load? Now why this is imp to share? Because while she expects something to be done, there is no thinking behind it. In other words she is inexperienced.

    She constantly bad mouth IT to business. I wonder is she really a CIO or actually a CBO (just invented a new term Chief Business Officer to IT). She believes in blaming IT. Business side in any company anyways never encourages IT anyways, and consider it as a cost center, its no different in SVB but last thing we needed was that a CIO also does the same thing, rather than re-positioning IT to business as an active partner.

    She is now talking about changing the whole online banking strategy, and let me predict something it will be a disaster under her leadership, because she is not a leader.
    If you are looking to come to GDB (Global digital Banking) group, please run away from SVB IT and if you do not I wish you good luck! She messages this strategy as if the world hunger will be resolved after that, but my question is that while she could not even deliver a few simple things forget about delivering something so big. Someone who could actually do it, just got fired, because she does not like people challenging her. I thought first lesson of leadership is to make sure you keep your smart people and critics closer, well no she fires them. That's why every employee is scared of even taking and openly sharing the feedback to her or anyone in her circle. Behind close doors people talk about their frustrations, whereas in front of her everyone is smiling, wearing the fake mask. She openly says either you are ready for this change or you can leave the org. I don't understand how to be part of this change when there is no direction.

    Many of the employees will leave the job tomorrow, but so many of us still have hope that Sr. Management will soon notice it and do something about it.

    In 2014, she took 4 months to set IT goals and then when employees were supposed to write their goals and align with IT goals, they were given a week. Phew!

    I can go on and on, but if you are thinking of joining IT, let me tell you, as long as we have same CIO (joined in May 2013) , let me warn you again, IT is becoming hell, so do yourself a favor and look for the job somewhere else. We have a very weak IT Leadership now, who just knows how to suck up to her to survive. Leaders who could do something are already fired.

    Don't join this hell. God please save IT.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease please ask the CIO, what has she done in last one year. And I am sure when you ask, she will just have superficial answers. Notice it please. What are her accomplishments?

    OK fine, IT was and will never be perfect overall, but can someone please evaluate her individual performance?

    Mr. CEO and COO, please do something. IT employees are choking, and you need to take action now or your globalization strategy is at high risk, since IT employee's morale is all time low. Its only a matter of time before it will be too late to fix IT without avoiding the broader impact.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Stay away from the internal audit department!

    Senior Internal Audit Associate (Former Employee)
    Santa Clara, CA

    ProsAbove average benefits & compensation
    Unique niche
    Location
    Most of the people outside of internal audit are cooperative

    ConsInternal audit department is one of the worst departments to work for in SVB. The team comprises of Caucasian male managers and Asian female staff. Teams are managed by fear and intimidation. There is no guidance, mentoring or coaching from any of the managers. Head of internal audit has an objective to force at least two employees to quit each year. In the 7 years that he has been on the job 14 people have quit the group. The size of the internal audit team is 10.

    Outside of internal audit, if you are on the lending side you can have a defined career path depending on your networking skills. Having a parent that is connected to the startup ecosystem is a prerequisite for success.

    SVB executive management is stacked with Greg Becker's followers. As expected, this leads to a single point of view which is good if it's the right view.

    Advice to Senior ManagementLeadership cannot be delegated
    Stop treating corporate functions like internal audit as necessary evil that are needed for regulators and audit committee

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Stay away!

    (Current Employee)
    Tempe, AZ

    ProsThey're great if you love the typical Silcon Valley perks (coffee service, free food, covered parking, gym, game room, etc.) to mask the fact that they're a sweat shop.

    ConsThey've taken the "Client First" mantra to the extreme where there is no work-life balance. A standard weekday report suddenly becomes an emergency on the weekend if it involves a client. Almost all project workloads are generated by audit due to compliance issues. There is no career path for people in IT. Management personnel decisions are made without employee input. Staffing levels are insufficient. One IT leader is known for inappropriate emails. People are burnt-out and management downplays or ignores complaints. IT management is better at fire-fighting than strategic planning.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIT leadership is ineffective, incompetent, and ruining the culture that the CEO has installed.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    8 people found this helpful  

    Great place to learn, bad place to stay.

    Mid Level to Senior Management (Former Employee)
    Santa Clara, CA

    ProsIf your interest is the technology, life science and venture capital space, you can learn a lot here and gain great exposure to these sectors. Ability to learn an interact generally and specifically with these sectors is reason enough to work here. The bank has build up a tremendous amount of traction over the last 20 years, working here opens a lot of doors in these sectors. If you come here to be a 'banker', realize this is not a typical bank in a lot of ways. Their 'Guiding Principles' are a great thing to emulate anywhere you work, they focus on honesty, integrity, ethics, focus on the client.

    ConsFor a long time I felt SVB was a meritocracy. The group you are in may be very siloed from other groups, but you can distinguish yourself with hard work and a little luck. I got to understand early that certain groups and individuals would be waiting for you to trip up, (and seeing how they could help make that so) but if you don't trip up, you would succeed. It's a bet I think many others would be willing to take.

    Having decompressed from the culture for a few years I learned two things:
    1) having to watch your back is not a normal work environment...it's just not
    2) SVB wasn't large enough to be so siloed, that was just a consequence of the culture. Functional groups can actually work together willingly and collaboratively. They should.

    I can only speak definitively to culture created by Greg Becker and his steering committee, but the meritocracy thing definitively and permanently ends once you are in the top 5-10% of the bank. At that point, up is down, black is white and personal politics drive a remarkable amount of strategy. HR is the executor of senior management's will, and great lengths will be taken to achieve that will.

    Lastly, you will not find this a place where speaking up is terribly encouraged. Vision comes from on high and nowhere else. Very different from even 5 years ago. Those who don't buy in or feel compelled to question, they do so at their peril.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAcknowledge to current employees that SVB's internally vaunted Guiding Principles have not applied to current management except when convenient. This is staff's perception today. It would benefit the bank long term to:
    1) Work to elevate people who have actually emulated those principles,
    2) Jettison those who have risen with behavior antithetic to those principles. There is no mistaking who these people are, and their rank within SVB causes a lot of cognitive dissonance when employees go back and read the aforementioned Principles.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Former Contractor Project Manager

    Project Manager (Former Employee)
    Santa Clara, CA

    ProsThe pay at SVB is competitive.

    ConsThe management team in IT and the PMO are incompetent, lack management and people skills and play favoritism. The existing processes are broken but they are not open to suggestions or recommendations from employees. I’m so glad to be out of that place because the environment is toxic.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease listen to your employees when they bring their concerns in regards to poor management and work environment. The #1 reason people leave their job is due to a BAD boss!

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    2 people found this helpful  

    SVB has a god complex...

    Associate II (Current Employee)
    Salt Lake City, UT

    ProsGood insurance plan and benefits. The name looks good on your business card or resume in the technology and start-up world.

    ConsGet paid commercial banking dollars while being pushed to work investment banking hours. It also seems as if 'urgency' has been turned into 'crisis' all the time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementHR and Management need to reconcile the strategy differences in compensation. I was always told the official targets by HR, but it was never reflected in my discussions and actions with management.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Silicon Valley Bank reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker. All 101 reviews posted anonymously by Silicon Valley Bank employees.