Silicon Valley Bank expanding into Canada with Barbara Dirks as head

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Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau has authorized Silicon Valley Bank to establish a lending branch in Canada, with Barbara Dirks set to lead the Canadian team and expansion immediately.

Silicon Valley Bank applied for the regulatory approvals to establish a branch in Canada back in May 2017. Once the superintendent’s approval is granted, SVB will be able to provide in-market commercial banking solutions to private and public technology and life science companies, and their investors across Canada.

Dirks’ past experience includes acting as senior VP of network and advisor strategy at RBC, in the field of personal and commercial banking. Previously, she was chief operations officer of the North American commercial banking group at the Bank of Montreal, where she worked in various roles for 15 years.

Dirks will provide leadership and strategic oversight for all of Silicon Valley Bank’s activities in Canada, including business development and operations. She will also chair the supervisory committee for Silicon Valley Bank in Canada.

“This marks an important milestone in our aspirations to support our innovative clients in key international markets, and we are thrilled to bring Barbara on board to lead the way in Canada,” said Mark Gallagher, senior market manager for Silicon Valley Bank. “Barbara has that unique mix of attributes and values we cherish. Her passion for entrepreneurs, depth of expertise and operational leadership, based on more than 17 years of experience in Canada and the US, are the right combination of skills to help us deliver our specialized knowledge and global network to Canada’s amazing innovation economy.”

SVB has already been providing Canadian companies with venture debt for at least 13 years, including CareGuide, D2L, Freshbooks, Lightspeed, Drop, and Shopify, on a cross-border basis through its US operations. SVB said it will continue to provide additional cross-border banking services to Canadian companies that have, or seek, a US presence.

“Silicon Valley Bank’s expansion into Canada will significantly support the tech ecosystem here,” said Jason Atkins, CEO of 360insights. “We’ve worked with SVB for more than three years now and they are a true partner. They understand our business, create opportunities for us to connect with other technology companies and investors, and provide flexible and innovative financing solutions.”

The institution has $51 billion in assets and more than 2,400 employees globally.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor. Follow her on Twitter @jessicagalangg or send her pitches to jessica.galang@betakit.com.