2 May 2023

First Republic Bank is acquired by JP Morgan

On Monday, First Republic Bank was taken over by regulators (FDIC) and sold to JPMorgan Chase. After Washington Mutual, which failed during the 2008 financial crisis and was also taken over by JPMorgan, it is the second largest US bank by assets to suffer the same fate.

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Several banks have weakened as a result of rising interest rates, as higher rates have depressed the value of large portfolios of bonds bought when rates were near zero. Following the SVB crash, many mid-sized banks initially struggled with deposit declines and falling share prices, but most have stabilised in recent weeks. Last Monday, however, First Republic announced that it had seen an outflow of more than $100 billion in deposits, prompting a further drop in its stock price. The company's shares, which were valued at more than $120 apiece in early March this year, were trading for less than $4 on Friday. JPMorgan agreed to take over all of First Republic's $92 billion in insured and uninsured deposits, as well as most of the bank's assets, which include about $173 billion in loans and $30 billion in securities.

After the JPMorgan takeover, all First Republic depositors, even those who exceeded the $250,000 insurance limit, have access to their money as all 84 branches reopened Monday morning. JPMorgan has also pledged to redeem $25 billion in deposits that ten other big banks put into First Republic in March as part of a failed attempt to stabilise the bank. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Intelligence, the acquisition could potentially boost JP Morgan's net profit by 1-2% in 2023-24 (not including a post-closing gain of USD 2.6bn or restructuring costs of USD 2bn).

While this transaction will protect the bank's depositors, First Republic's shareholders will likely be left with nothing, as was the case with SVB and Signature banks.