Fast-growing Silicon Valley Bancshares, a business bank that specializes in technology lending, is stepping on the brakes.

In June the San Jose-based bank withdrew its application to the California banking department to open a branch in San Diego. And bank officials say they have put on hold plans for a full-service office on the east side of San Francisco Bay.

That's a sharp turnaround for Silicon Valley, which in two years has boosted assets almost 60%, to $916 million. It did that by assembling a far-flung network of offices from Boston to Portland, Ore., to Southern California.

Silicon Valley president and chief executive Roger V. Smith said that with the Golden State economy in the dumps, it's no time to open new offices. "Right now brick and mortar is not the way to go," he maintains.

Analysts noted, however, that Silicon Valley also may be slowing down because of internal credit quality issues. The bank's nonperforming assets, mostly commercial real estate, have rocketed in recent quarters and now total $50.4 million, or 7.46% of loans plus foreclosed property.

In its latest quarterly earnings report, the bank said that after 21 consecutive quarterly earnings increases, profits may dip.

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