A First Republic bank branch in Manhattan on April 24, 2023 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
U.S. regulators have asked banks for their best and final takeover offers for First Republic by Sunday afternoon, in a move that authorities hope will calm markets and cap a period of uncertainty for regional lenders.
JPMorgan Chase and PNC are likely bidders for the ailing lender, which would be seized in receivership and immediately sold to the winning bank, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The Wall Street Journal reported those banks’ interest late Friday.
Other companies are likely to step up. Bank of America is among several other institutions that are weighing a potential bid for First Republic, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
If regulators led by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. receive an acceptable offer by Sunday, it’s possible a new owner for First Republic could be announced early Monday. That scenario would create the least disruption for First Republic customers, who would start the week knowing that their bank was now owned by a financially stable operator.
The First Republic auction may end a tumultuous period for midsized U.S. banks. Since the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in March, attention has turned to First Republic as the weakest link in the American banking system. Shares of the bank sank 90% last month, and then collapsed further this week after First Republic disclosed how dire their situation is.
Like SVB, which catered to the tech startup community, First Republic is also a California-based specialty lender. It focused on serving rich coastal Americans, enticing them with low-rate mortgages in exchange for leaving cash at the bank. That model unraveled in the wake of the SVB collapse, as First Republic clients withdrew more than $100 billion in deposits, the bank disclosed Monday.
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