First Republic stock down 65% amid fears of regional bank contagion

First Republic Bank’s (FRC) shares tanked a record 67% and were halted for volatility, leading regional lenders lower, despite measures by U.S. regulators to shore up confidence in the banking system following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Western Alliance’s (WAL) stock fell 74%, while PacWest Bancorp (PACW) and Zions Bank Corporation (ZION) declined more than 40% as regional banks were hammered over concerns of a contagion.

Over the weekend First Republic assured it had accessed additional liquidity from the Federal Reserve Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

“The total available, unused liquidity to fund operations is now more than $70 billion,” said First Republic.

The bank’s uninsured deposits at the end of 2022 totaled $119.5 billion, or 67% of its total deposits, according to its financial statements.

First Republic’s liquidity shore-up came after San Francisco-based peer SVB, owned by Silicon Valley Financial (SIVB), was shut down by regulators last Friday as depositors flocked to get their money out of the bank. Many of Silicon Valley Bank’s clients were startups and venture capital firms, with accounts which far exceeded $250,000, the amount normally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDCI.

On Sunday, financial regulators said depositors of SVB would be made whole, and announced new facilities to backstop deposit withdrawals across the banking system.

“Today we are taking decisive actions to protect the U.S. economy by strengthening public confidence in our banking system,” said the joint statement by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Fed chief Jerome Powell, and FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg.

A view of the First Republic Bank logo at the Park Avenue location, in New York City, U.S., March 10, 2023. REUTERS/David 'Dee' Delgado

A view of the First Republic Bank logo at the Park Avenue location, in New York City, U.S., March 10, 2023. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado

Regulators also announced a systemic risk exception for Signature Bank (SBNY), which was closed on Sunday by its state chartering authority.

The measure may not be enough to calm concerns of liquidity for all the banks, especially regional ones which do not have to undergo the same stress tests and regulations as the country’s largest lenders.

“Risk and fear are still very much alive in this market place,” David Ellison of Hennessy Large Cap Financial told Yahoo Finance Live. “The electronic nature of the banking system now, people can move money out very rapidly.”

“This isn’t people lined outside looking to get 20 dollars out,” he said.” “his is people calling, going on the Internet, and pulling out millions of dollars very quickly. So this liquidity issue is bigger than the Fed ever expected. And I think it’s going to be a struggle going forward here to kind of establish a sense of liquidity in the system.”

Ines is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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