Loans

Moody’s puts First Republic, five U.S. banks on downgrade watch

Moody’s Investors Service placed First Republic Bank and five other U.S. lenders on review for downgrade, the latest sign of concern over the health of regional financial firms following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Western Alliance Bancorp., Intrust Financial Corp., UMB Financial Corp., Zions Bancorp. and Comerica Inc. were the other lenders put on review by Moody’s. The credit rating company cited concerns over the lenders’ reliance on uninsured deposit funding and unrealized losses in their asset portfolios. 

The move comes after U.S. bank stocks were pummeled, even as the government rescued SVB’s depositors and unveiled a new lending facility to support lenders’ financing and prevent more bank runs. Moody’s also downgraded Signature Bank and withdrew its credit rating, following the lender’s closure over the weekend. 

FIRST REPUBLIC BANK
First Republic Bank shares were halted after plunging by as much as 53% on Friday, the most intraday on record, as bank stocks are roiled by the fallout from SVB Financial Group. Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

San Francisco-based First Republic dropped a record 62% on Monday, while Phoenix-based Western Alliance tumbled an unprecedented 47%. Dallas-based Comerica slid 28%. 

In the case of First Republic, Moody’s said its share of deposits that exceed the Federal insurance threshold make its funding profile more sensitive to rapid, large withdrawals. 

“If it were to face higher-than-anticipated deposit outflows and liquidity backstops proved insufficient, the bank could need to sell assets, thus crystalizing unrealized losses,” Moody’s said. The bank’s available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities made up more than a third of its common equity tier-1 capital as of December, it added. 

First Republic said earlier that it has enhanced and diversified its financial position through access to additional liquidity from the Federal Reserve and JPMorgan Chase & Co.



Source link