After infusions of cash failed to shore up San Francisco's forty-year-old First Republic Bank, the bank was seized over the weekend by federal regulators and put out for bids on Sunday, resulting in a quick sale to JPMorgan Chase.
All First Republic branches were set to be open Monday morning as newly christened branches of JPMorgan Chase, though there was hardly time to change the stationary or signs on the doors.
As the SF Business Times reports, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation announced early Monday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) had been named receiver of the bank. And the announcement added that the FDIC had already accepted JPMorgan's bid "to assume all deposits, including all uninsured deposits, and substantially all assets of First Republic Bank."
The swift transaction was meant to avert more fears of a bank collapse, but it effectively wiped out any shareholders' value in the bank.
"These actions are going to make sure that the banking system is safe and sound," said President Biden in a speech from the Rose Garden this morning. "While depositors are being protected, shareholders are losing their investments. And critically, taxpayers are not the ones that are on the hook."
Per the New York Times, the FDIC is esimating that it will need pay out $13 billion to cover First Republic's losses, and JPMorgan agreed to pay $10.6 billion to the FDIC.
This was the largest failure of a bank, in terms of assets, since the collapse of Washington Mutual during the 2008 financial crisis, and the transaction makes JPMorgan Chase, which was already the country's largest bank, even larger.
As Bloomberg reports from Sunday's flash auction, other bids came in Sunday from PNC Financial Services Group and Citizens Financial Group Inc. Both Bank of America Corp. and US Bancorp were also invited to submit bids, but they did not in the end.
The collapse of First Republic over the last several weeks was sparked by panic over regional banks' assets and the impact of rising interest rates that first began with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in early March. At the time, that was said to be the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history after WaMu, but now First Republic has eclipsed that. Silicon Valley Bank's assets have now been acquired by First Citizens Bank & Trust of North Carolina.
Shares in First Republic tanked 70% in the days following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, but regulators and bank executives worked over the last six weeks to bolster confidence in the bank. A $30 billion infusion of cash from a coalition of big banks, much of which will now be paid back by JPMorgan Chase, failed to keep the ship from sinking.
The last week saw more volatility in the bank's share price, after a report last week showed that it had lost more than half its deposits in the first quarter of the year.
Photo: Facade with logo at First Republic Bank in the San Francisco Bay Area, Walnut Creek, California, May, 2023. The bank was seized by the FDIC in May of 2023. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)