WASHINGTON — The White House is exploring additional ways to ensure accountability for those responsible for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, administration officials said Tuesday.

pointing to the bonds some bank employees received last week and stock sales made by top executives in recent years, a White House official said: «All of those are worth a closer look.»

“Be vigilant on that front,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Biden administration’s thinking. «In the very short term, we’re going to have more say on the liability aspects of this.»

In his brief speech on Monday announcing the government’s plan to protect depositors, President Joe Biden made it clear that he did not want those who caused the bank’s failure to benefit. That was one of the reasons why the 2008 bailout was so unpopular.

It looms over Biden’s response to the failure of SVB, the second-biggest bank failure in US history, that searing episode from his past: the 2008 financial crash. Some of the very players who helped bring him out of that debacle are still in office, starting with Biden. The harsh lessons of the collapse of the global financial system 15 years ago appear to be shaping Biden’s response today.

After he took office In 2009, the Obama-Biden administration faced a bitter backlash when banks that had received government bailout money paid bonuses to their executives. In his memoir, «A Promised Land,» former President Barack Obama raged at the «clueless attitude of the Wall Street executives whose collective asses we were pulling out of the fire.»

The smaller scale of the SVB failure compared to the 2008 calamity gives Biden room for both reinforce customer confidence in the banking system and seek accountability for those possibly responsible for the crisis, a former official said.

When Obama took office, «safety trumped accountability given the scale of the global problem,» said Robert Gibbs, a former White House press secretary. «We were more trying to salvage the boat from sinking than looking for a new boat.»

Heading into a likely re-election campaign, Biden cannot afford the kind of populist rampage that sparked the 2008 crisis. And there is reason enough to worry. Last Thursday, when federal officials began hearing reports of panicked SVB withdrawals, «the indicators were flashing red,» said a second White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door talks.

The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the bank’s collapse, NBC News reported Tuesday. But on its own, the White House can take administrative action or support legislation that would «take away» the bonus money or any proceeds from stock sales, the first said the officer.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is introducing legislation to recover the proceeds of the shares and bonus money paid in the run up to the bankruptcy of the bank.

Biden privately told his advisers in meetings over the weekend that he wants tougher regulations on banks to prevent future bankruptcies, the said the second mate. Biden wants Congress to revoke deregulation measures taken by lawmakers during the Trump administration, a move critics say has made banks more vulnerable to financial stress.

It’s unclear if Biden has a specific plan in mind, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., are introducing legislation that would restore the tougher requirements that were scuttled under President Donald. Trump. Triumph.

Biden was first briefed on SVB’s problems on Friday morning and told the bank may need to be closed, according to reports from administration officials. Federal regulators shut it down later that day.

Back home in Wilmington, Delaware, over the weekend, Biden attended religious services but also received video briefings from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council, Lael Brainard, and other officials. As they weighed the options, Biden asked what closing the bank would mean for small businesses, workers, and the broader economy. One of the main concerns was that the small businesses that held deposits at SVB would not be able to pay their workers if the bank failed.

“The estimate we got was that more than 1 million Americans would not have been paid, some of whom had no idea they were at risk,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.

In his private briefings on Sunday, Biden also told aides that the people who caused the bank to collapse shouldn’t just walk away with impunity, the second official said. He wanted management fired and told Yellen that taxpayer money should not be used to cover losses. Instead, the government would draw money from a special fund made up of bank fees.

In short, Biden wanted a resolution that was nothing like the calamity of 2008.

«You are much stronger politically if you can say in this moment of crisis: ‘I took on some of the banks on your behalf, and these are the things I did,'» said Faiz Shakir, an adviser to the senator. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. «The lesson of 2008 is not to go back to the American people and say, ‘All the bank CEOs told me I was terrible and I had to make sure life was okay for them.'»

Bailing out SVB remains a risky proposition for Biden, who presents himself as an advocate for working-class and middle-class Americans who may have little sympathy for a bank whose name conjures up wealthy tech companies.

«Is Silicon Valley Bank. Even the name doesn’t have the connotation of ‘working class,’” Shakir said.

The bank’s collapse has already sparked a partisan war likely to stretch into the 2024 campaign season.

Republicans have been looking to capitalize on the bank’s fate, drawing a line between the economic policies of Biden and SVB. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, anticipated a new line of attack against Biden stemming from the bank’s failure.

«Biden’s reckless spending led to record inflation and rapidly rising interest rates that broke family budgets and banks too.» McCarthy tweeted. «We must restore fiscal sanity.»

However, Republicans face their own vulnerabilities. When Trump was in the White House, Congress voted to relax the regulatory requirements governing small and midsize banks. Had those rules been intact, SVB and other troubled banks of comparable size would have faced stiffer capital and liquidity requirements that would have made them more resilient to financial stress, the Democrats argue.

“Trump and the Republicans generally have much more vulnerability for siding with banking interests to weaken Dodd-Frank safeguards than Biden does for taking decisive action to prevent a major collapse,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

However, the distinctions are not so clear cut. Lawmakers from both parties voted to reverse parts of the Dodd-Frank law, which was enacted after the 2008 collapse.