21 March 2023

California bank First Republic is in financial trouble

Despite a $30 billion financial aid from 11 major U.S. banks last week, First Republic Bank shares closed 47% lower on Monday, bringing their total decline this month to nearly 90%.

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First Republic is having trouble convincing its depositors that it will not suffer the same fate as SVB and Signature Bank. Despite having assets of about $213 billion and deposits of $176 billion, the bank had to increase its borrowings from the US Federal Reserve last week and suspend dividend payments. In addition, the bank has seen a significant outflow of customer deposits, estimated at USD 70 billion since SVB's collapse about 10 days ago.

According to reports, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, is in talks with CEOs of other major banks to explore new measures to stabilize First Republic and address the significant liquidity, funding and profitability issues the bank is reportedly currently facing. The banking crisis continues to deepen as the regional bank's rating has been further downgraded by S&P Global to B+ from BB+ (a company with this rating is more vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the ability to meet its financial obligations).

First Republic Bank was founded in 1985 and started with fewer than 10 employees. By 2020, it had grown to the 14th largest bank in the U.S. with 5,000 employees.