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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Group of major US banks ride to $30bn rescue of troubled First Republic

Group of major US banks ride to $30bn rescue of troubled First Republic

America's largest banks send a powerful message of solidarity after the sector is clubbed by investors over the impact of rising interest rates.
A group of 11 major banks have clubbed together to provide $30bn (£24.7bn) of cash in an attempt to end a crisis of confidence surrounding another major US bank.

First Republic, a regional lender, was among those to have seen its share price collapse this week amid sector-wide balance sheet scrutiny prompted by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last Friday.

The rescue funds, provided by peers including JPMorgan, Citi, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, were handed over hours after Switzerland's second-largest lender was granted a €50bn (£44.5bn) lifeline by the country's central bank.

Credit Suisse had come under the same kind of share price assault as First Republic, largely the result of fears that rising interest rates imposed by central banks to tackle inflation had damaged their balance sheets.

Unlike with SVB last week, when the US government effectively took control, it was reported by the Reuters news agency that US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen had discussed a bank-led rescue with JPMorgan's boss as early as Tuesday.

Ms Yellen, a former chair of the US Federal Reserve, was understood to have helped hatch the show of support and resilience in the face of concerns of a new banking crisis.

A joint statement by the banks involved in the rescue said their time-limited deposits demonstrated "their overall commitment to helping banks serve their customers and communities."

First Republic responded: "This support from America's largest banks reflects confidence in First Republic and its ability to continue to provide unwavering exceptional service to its clients and communities."

Its share price recovered from record lows earlier in the day to close almost 10% up.

The Swiss National Bank's loans to Credit Suisse helped it gain 19% on the day following the bloodbath for values on Thursday.

News of the bailout helped wider European stock markets close in positive territory after investors were initially spooked by a 0.5 percentage point interest rate rise by the European Central Bank.

It prioritised its battle against inflation over the market turmoil in a move that sent a clear public signal it was not overly concerned by the crisis of confidence hitting banks.
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