USA | Mar 17, 2023

First Republic Bank shares drop as US$30-billion support fails to reassure investors

/ Our Today

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A person walks past a First Republic Bank branch in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., March 13, 2023. (File Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)


Shares of First Republic Bank tumbled 17 per cent in early trading today (March 17) after being briefly halted as US$30 billion in deposits injected by large United States (US) banks failed to quell investor worries about the beleaguered lender.

Fears of an imminent collapse of the bank prompted an unprecedented deal put together by top power brokers including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon on Thursday.

“While the new deposits in First Republic calmed the waters for the troubled bank, they come at current market rates, which will compress net interest income,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth Management.

“With an impaired earnings profile, the bank may still have to explore a sale.”


Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup Inc, Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo & Co, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley involved in First Republic’s rescue dropped between 1.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent.

Founded in 1985, First Republic had US$212 billion in assets and US$176.4 billion in deposits as of the end of last year, according to its annual report.

The San Francisco-based lender, which has suspended its dividend, has been caught up in a widening banking crisis triggered by the collapse of two mid-size US lenders over the past week. Its stock has lost about 72 per cent of value this month.

A person walks past the Park Avenue location of the First Republic Bank, in New York City, U.S., March 10, 2023. (File Photo: REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado)

“Judging by the market’s reaction, it appears that maybe the damage has been done to the brand reputation of First Republic. (It) is a shame because it was a high quality, well run bank, that constantly touted its high service promoter score,” said John Petrides, portfolio manager at Tocqueville Asset Management.

The rescue package came less than a day after Swiss bank Credit Suisse clinched an emergency central bank loan of up to US$54 billion to shore up its liquidity.


First Republic said it borrowed up to US$109 billion from the US Federal Reserve between March 10 and March 15.

Fed data on Thursday showed banks sought a record US$152.9 billion in emergency liquidity from the US central bank over recent days, surpassing previous high that was set during the most acute phase of the financial crisis.

The borrowings speak to the “funding and liquidity strains on banks, driven by weakening depositor confidence,” Moody’s said.

The ratings agency had downgraded its outlook on the US banking system to negative earlier this week.


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