David Dee Delgado | Reuters
JPMorgan Chase then acquired all of First Republic’s deposits, including those that are uninsured, and a “substantial majority of assets,” according to a release.
Since the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March, attention has focused on First Republic as the weakest link in the US banking system. Like SVB, which catered to the tech startup community, First Republic was also a California-based specialty lender of sorts. It focused on serving rich coastal Americans, enticing them with low-rate mortgages in exchange for leaving cash at the bank.
But that model unraveled in the wake of the SVB collapsed, as First Republic clients withdrew more than $100 billion in deposits, the bank revealed in its earnings report April 24. Institutions with a high proportion of uninsured deposits like SVB and First Republic found themselves vulnerable Because clients feared losing savings in a bank run.
Shares of First Republic are down 97% so far this year as of Friday’s close.
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation said Monday it had taken possession of the First Republic and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation as receiver. The FDIC accepted JPMorgan’s bid for the bank’s assets.
“As part of the transaction, First Republic Bank’s 84 offices in eight states will reopen as branches of JPMorgan Chase Bank, the National Association, today during normal business hours,” the FDIC said in a statement. “All depositors of First Republic Bank will become depositors of JPMorgan Chase Bank, National Association, and will have full access to all of their deposits.”
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon touted the acquisition in a statement early Monday morning.
“Our government invited us and others to step up, and we did,” he said. “This acquisition modestly benefits our company overall, it is accretive to shareholders, it helps further advance our wealth strategy, and it is complementary to our existing franchise.”
In the wake of the takeover Monday morning, the Treasury Department sought to reassure Americans the country’s financial system.
“The banking system remains sound and resilient, and Americans should feel confident in the safety of their deposits and the ability of the banking system to fulfill its essential function of providing credit to businesses and families,” a Treasury spokesperson said.
On April 24, First Republic CEO Michael Roffler sought to portray an image of stability after the events of March. Deposit outflows have slowed in recent weeks, he said. But the stock tanked after the company disavowed its previous financial guidance and Roffler opted not to take questions after an unusually brief conference call.
The bank’s advisors had hoped to persuade the biggest US banks to help the First Republic once again. One version of the plan circulated recently involved asking banks to pay above-market rates for bonds on First Republic’s balance sheet, which would enable it to raise capital from other sources.
But ultimately the banks, which had banded together in March to inject $30 billion of deposits into the First Republic, couldn’t agree on the rescue plan and regulators took action, ending the bank’s 38-year run.
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