First Republic Gets $30 Billion Rescue From Top US Banks

First Republic Gets $30 Billion Rescue From Top US Banks
A man stands outside First Republic Bank in downtown San Francisco. (Lear Zhou/The Epoch Times)
Jack Phillips

First Republic Bank will receive $30 billion from some of the top U.S. banks in a bid to stabilize the troubled firm, the banks confirmed in a March 16 joint statement.

Eleven of the largest U.S. financial institutions will provide an infusion to the bank following a volatile week that saw the lender’s shares plunge following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week, the institutions stated, confirming anonymously sourced reports that there were discussions to shore up First Republic.

“The actions of America’s largest banks reflect their confidence in the country’s banking system. Together, we are deploying our financial strength and liquidity into the larger system, where it is needed the most,” the banks said in the March 16 statement. “Smaller- and medium-sized banks support their local customers and businesses, create millions of jobs and help uplift communities. America’s larger banks stand united with all banks to support our economy and all of those around us.”

The banks that will provide deposits include Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BNY-Mellon, PNC Bank, State Street, Truist, and U.S. Bank. Those deposits will be uninsured, the statement said.

The U.S. Department of Treasury, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Federal Reserve also issued a statement confirming the move.

“This show of support by a group of large banks is most welcome, and demonstrates the resilience of the banking system,” the agencies stated.

After the collapse of SVB and New York’s Signature Bank, there were fears that contagion would spread to First Republic. The institution, like the aforementioned two, reportedly had a large number of uninsured deposits, triggering fears that customers would withdraw their money en masse.

First Republic’s stock closed at roughly $115 per share on March 8, but as of March 16, it traded below $20 as it was halted multiple times throughout the week. By the end of regular trading on March 16, its shares rose by almost 10 percent.

Ratings service Moody’s said on March 14 that it would put First Republic under review for a downgrade because of the highly volatile funding conditions for it and other U.S. banks exposed to uninsured deposit withdrawals.
A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citibank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs, from Reuters archive. (File Photo/Reuters)
A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citibank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs, from Reuters archive. (File Photo/Reuters)

The development could help calm the nerves of bank investors after the collapse last week of SVB, which was the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history, after the demise of Washington Mutual in 2008. The shuttering of SVB on March 10 and of New York-based Signature Bank two days later has revived bad memories of the financial crisis that plunged the United States into the Great Recession of 2007–09.

Over the weekend, the federal government, determined to restore public confidence in the banking system, moved to protect all the banks’ deposits. That included those that exceeded the FDIC’s $250,000 limit per individual account, sparking criticism from some top investors.

On March 16, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted to senators during a hearing that bank deposits and savings “remain safe” and that the federal government is committed to ensuring that deposits are safe and that the American banking system is sound.

“I can assure the members of this committee that our banking system remains sound and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them,” Yellen told lawmakers in a prepared statement. “This week’s actions demonstrate our resolute commitment to ensure that depositors’ savings remain safe.”

Analysts have said that banks have suffered due to the Federal Reserve’s attempts to boost interest rates to offset decades-high inflation. While higher rates can tame inflation by slowing the economy, they raise the risk of a recession later on and also can harm the prices of stocks, bonds, and other investments.

Yellen noted that the rescue was designed to ensure that customers could gain access to their money, pay their bills, and pay their workers. Debtholders and shareholders aren’t protected from losses linked to the bank’s collapse, she said, noting that the Federal Reserve also made it easier for banks to borrow in case of a possible emergency.

Also on March 16, she made no mention of the situation regarding Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based giant that saw its shares plunge earlier this week. The firm said in a statement this week that it would borrow up to 50 billion Swiss francs, or about $53 billion, from Switzerland’s central bank to provide more liquidity.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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