US regulator seizes First Republic Bank, to sell assets to JPMorgan

01 May 2023 - 11:45 By Reuters
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A security guard stands outside a First Republic Bank branch in San Francisco, California, US April 28, 2023.
A security guard stands outside a First Republic Bank branch in San Francisco, California, US April 28, 2023.
Image: REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) said on Monday it had closed First Republic Bank and agreed a deal to sell its assets to JPMorgan Chase & Co and National Association, in what is the third major US bank to fail in two months.

JPMorgan bank was one of several interested buyers including PNC Financial Services Group, and Citizens Financial Group Inc, which submitted final bids on Sunday in an auction being run by US regulators, sources familiar with the matter said over the weekend.

A deal for First Republic, which had total assets of $229.1 billion as of April 13, comes less than two months after Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failed amid a deposit flight from US lenders, forcing the Federal Reserve to step in with emergency measures to stabilise markets. Those failures came after crypto-focused Silvergate voluntarily liquidated.


TIMELINE-The road to First Republic Bank's collapse

JPMorgan Chase & Co is buying most of First Republic Bank's assets, which had been seized by US regulators, in a last-ditch rescue for the strained lender, marking the third major US bank to fail in two months.

Last week, First Republic reported a more than $100 billion plunge in deposits in the first quarter that sparked a brutal sell-off in the lender's shares.

Banks have been staring at the biggest crisis since 2008 after two US lenders collapsed in March and the turmoil has ratcheted up fears of a contagion and prompted action from the US Federal Reserve, US Treasury and the private sector.

Below is a timeline of key events: Date Development March 8 Crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital Corp says it would wind down operations and voluntarily liquidate. Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) says it intends to raise $2.25 billion in common equity and preferred convertible stock.

March 9 The S&P 500 bank index tumbles after SVB's announcement and crypto bank Silvergate's decision to wind down operations. SVB stock collapses by 60%, leading the company to scramble to reassure its clients their money was safe.

March 10 A California regulator shuts SVB and appoints the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. US bank stocks extend losses with regional lenders hit the hardest. US lenders First Republic Bank and Western Alliance say their liquidity and deposits remained strong, aiming to calm investors worried of a spill-over. SVB CEO Greg Becker leaves the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

March 11 The US Federal Reserve and the FDIC weigh the creation of a fund that would allow regulators to backstop more deposits at banks, Bloomberg News reported.

March 12 Yellen says she is working closely with banking regulators to respond to the SVB collapse.

US officials later say SVB customers will have access to their deposits. New York state's Department of Financial Services takes possession of New York-based Signature Bank.

March 13 HSBC acquires the UK subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank for 1 pound. The FDIC says it has transferred all deposits of SVB to a newly created bridge bank. US President Joe Biden says the administration's actions should give Americans confidence that the banking system is safe. Western Alliance Bancorp says more than 50% of its total deposits were insured and it has over $25 billion of cash reserves. Shares of US regional banks slump, led by First Republic , while credit risk indicators flash red as investors worry about contagion risks.

March 14 Moody's Investors Service revises its outlook on the US banking system to “negative” from “stable”, citing heightened risks. US prosecutors investigate the collapse of SVB, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

March 15 Troubled Swiss giant Credit Suisse says it will strengthen its liquidity by borrowing from the Swiss National Bank up to 50 billion Swiss francs ($54 billion).

March 16 Yellen tells a US Senate hearing that uninsured deposits would only be guaranteed in banks deemed a contagion threat, raising fears about smaller banks. Large US banks inject $30 billion in deposits into First Republic Bank to shore up the lender's finances.

March 17 SVB Financial Group files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

March 18 UBS is examining a takeover of Credit Suisse that could see the Swiss government offer a guarantee against the risks involved, say two people with knowledge of the matter.

March 19 UBS agrees to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs in stock and agrees to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses.

March 20 The FDIC decides to break up SVB and hold two separate auctions for its traditional deposits unit and its private bank after failing to find a buyer for the lender.

March 21 US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tells bankers that she is prepared to intervene to protect depositors in smaller US banks. Reuters reports, citing sources, that First Republic is looking at ways it can downsize if its attempts to raise new capital fail

March 22 Yellen tells lawmakers that she has not considered or discussed “blanket insurance” to US banking deposits without approval by Congress, again stirring up investor worry. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says SVB's failure is not indicative of wider weaknesses in the banking system.

March 27 First Citizens BancShares Inc says it would acquire the deposits and loans of failed Silicon Valley Bank.

April 24 First Republic shares sink after reporting deposits plunged by more than $100 billion in the first quarter and that it was exploring options such as restructuring its balance sheet.

April 25 First Republic faces dwindling and tough options to turn around its business with the creation of a 'bad bank' or asset sales possibilities, a source tells Reuters.

April 26 First Republic advisers have already lined up potential purchasers of new stock in the lender if they can fix the bank's balance sheet, CNBC reports citing sources

April 28 The FDIC is prepared to place First Republic under receivership imminently, a source says. US officials co-ordinate urgent talks to rescue First Republic as private sector efforts led by the bank's advisers yet to reach a deal, three sources tell Reuters.

April 29 US regulators try to clinch a sale of First Republic Bank over the weekend, with roughly half a dozen banks bidding, sources tell Reuters.

April 30 PNC Financial Services Group , JPMorgan Chase and Citizens Financial Group Inc among banks that submitted final bids for First Republic, according to sources.

May 1  US regulators say First Republic Bank has been seized and a deal agreed to sell the bank's assets to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Sources: company statements, press conferences, media reports

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