First Republic expands rout as bank is said be weighing options

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg First Republic Bank shares plunged on Thursday in premarket trading, extending a weeklong slide as executives look for a buyer to support the bank following the collapse of several regional peers. According to people familiar with this matter, the bank in San Francisco is said to be looking at strategic options that could include a sale. Some people said that the firm is also looking at options to increase liquidity. A report by Christopher McGratty, an analyst from Keefe, Bruyette and Woods, stated that a headline indicating a possible sale would normally support the stock. “However, the potential for significant deposit outflows following the failure of SIVB will likely leave [First Republic] with a difficult situation. McGratty stated that any potential sale of the bank would be difficult for existing shareholders due to mark-to-market accounting on loans. This is despite the turmoil surrounding Credit Suisse Group AG and the upheaval at U.S. regional banks. The shares of the Swiss bank rebounded on Thursday after it opened a $54billion line of credit with the central bank of the country and offered to buy back some debt. Sunday’s statement by First Republic stated that it had more than $70 billion in unused liquidity available to fund operations. This was a bank that specializes in wealth management and private banking. Premarket trading was also down for several regional banks. PacWest Bancorp fell 17% at 8:20 AM Eastern time. Western Alliance Bancorp lost 10%. “First Republic’s options are narrowed after deposit outflow, sharp share-price fall and recent downgrades by ratings agencies,” Herman Chan, an analyst from Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in the note.