Lowcountry business feels effects of national bank shut down

One Summerville business says they’re changing the way they pay their employees since the Silicon Valley Bank shut down.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 11:07 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:15 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - One Summerville business says they’re changing the way they pay their employees since the Silicon Valley Bank shut down.

The owner of Aquatic Analytics, a water testing company out of Summerville, says the company that calculates her employees’ paychecks also uses Silicon Valley Bank. This caused her business to be impacted by the collapse. Although they got their money just hours before the shutdown, Jennifer Girard, one of the lab technicians, says it could’ve been a huge loss.

“I’m one of those people that kind of lives paycheck to paycheck,” Girard said. “So, if my money had not gone on the bank on the day that it’s supposed to, some of my bills probably would not have gotten paid.”

However, the shutdown could still cost her.

“I just got to check with my bank and see if we’re going to get fees now for not having the regularly scheduled direct deposit,” Girard said.

The owner, Samantha Miller, says this situation makes her realize how interconnected the financial world really is as a business owner.

“It’s also kind of worrisome,” Miller said. “I don’t usually tend to listen to the gloom and doom scenarios, but it was pretty easy to topple a giant bank.”

However, Thomas Ruppel, a finance professor at the College of Charleston, says this change shouldn’t be permanent.

“She’s right to be concerned about the stability of vendors and suppliers because everyone is,” Ruppel said. “But I don’t think this is going to have any effect on the ability of those vendors and suppliers to continue to provide services.”

Ruppel says many large technology companies across the country were not able to make payroll because of this shutdown. However, there isn’t a large presence of those in South Carolina.

“Banking is so local here in the Lowcountry that it’s pretty clear that all they have to do is pick up the phone and talk to their banker, and they can figure out that that local bank is not in trouble just because of the specialized in localized situation,” Ruppel said.

Miller says she was notified this afternoon that her employees would not have to pay any fees for not doing a direct deposit. Moving forward, Miller says she’s going to stick with writing paper checks to prevent another hassle from happening again.