Skip to main content

Federal Home Loan Banks: Actions Related to the Spring 2023 Bank Failures

GAO-24-106957 Published: Mar 08, 2024. Publicly Released: Apr 08, 2024.
Jump To:

Fast Facts

In this Q&A report, we continue our review of federal actions leading up to the bank failures between March 10 and May 1, 2023.

Before they failed, Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank borrowed more money from their respective Federal Home Loan Banks than other banks their size.

When there were runs on the banks—high volumes of withdrawals—the Federal Home Loan Banks and the Federal Reserve Banks tried to help them borrow additional Federal Reserve money to make up for the lost funds. One bank failed before they coordinated this effort. Most of the funds borrowed from the Federal Home Loan Banks have been repaid.

A bank building in a city

Skip to Highlights


What GAO Found

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank had borrowed substantial secured loans, or advances, from their respective Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) before their failures in spring 2023. As of year-end 2022, each of the three banks held substantially more FHLBank advances (as a proportion of their total assets) than a group of their peer banks.

The three banks increased their outstanding FHLBank advances by 37 to 50 percent in the first 2 weeks of March 2023, when SVB and Signature Bank failed (see table). First Republic Bank’s outstanding advances then largely stabilized until the bank failed on May 1.  

Percentage Changes in Outstanding Federal Home Loan Bank Advances for Failed Banks, March 1, 2023–Failure Date



Outstanding FHLBank advances (in billions of dollars)

Percentage change

Silicon Valley Bank

March 1



March 10


Signature Bank

March 1



March 12


First Republic Bank

March 1



May 1


Source: GAO analysis of Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) advance data. | GAO-24-106957

Why GAO Did This Study

Between March 10 and May 1, 2023, state banking supervisors closed SVB, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank and named FDIC as receiver.

The three failed banks had borrowed substantial secured loans (known as advances) from their respective FHLBanks before their failures. The FHLBanks are government-sponsored enterprises that support liquidity by making advances to member financial institutions and promote housing and community development. SVB and First Republic Bank were members of the FHLBank of San Francisco, and Signature Bank was a member of the FHLBank of New York.

GAO was asked to review the role of the FHLBanks with regard to the recent bank failures. This report provides information on the FHLBanks’ funding to the failed banks, their communication and coordination with FDIC and the Federal Reserve System (the failed banks’ primary federal regulators), and repayment of the failed banks’ outstanding advances. This report is one in a series of reports about the bank failures. GAO plans to follow this report with work on broader issues related to the FHLBanks.

GAO reviewed relevant laws and regulations; publications, policies, procedures, and other documentation and data from the FHLBanks and the federal banking regulators; and publicly available regulatory reporting data for the three failed banks. GAO also interviewed officials from the FHLBanks, federal banking regulators, and others.

For more information, contact Jill Naamane at (202) 512-8678 or

Full Report

Office of Public Affairs


Bank failuresBankingDeposit insuranceFederal deposit insuranceFederal home loan banksFederal reserve banksFederal reserve systemFinancial institutionsFinancial instrumentsFinancial services