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Pam and Russ Martens: Banks that 'rescued' First Republic may have sought to rescue themselves

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Pam and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
Thursday, April 27, 2023

Ever since 11 banks on March 16 donned the garb of heroic firefighters, rushing to extinguish an inferno at a competitor bank before it spread further, we have been asking ourselves: Why just this group of 11 banks?

We're talking about the action on March 16 when 11 banks chipped in a total of $30 billion and bizarrely placed those funds as uninsured deposits into First Republic Bank -- which was in full scale unraveling mode because of bond losses and -- wait for it -- too many uninsured deposits. Four banks contributed two-thirds of the total deposits, with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo ponying up $5 billion each. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs deposited $2.5 billion each, while BNY Mellon, State Street, PNC Bank, Truist, and U.S. Bank each deposited $1 billion, together making up the other one-third of the $30 billion.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as of December 31, 2022, there were 4,706 federally-insured commercial banks and savings associations in the United States. The 11 banks rushing to "rescue" First Republic Bank represent less than a fraction of 1% of the total banks.

Banking in the U.S. is not particularly regarded as an altruistic industry. In fact, it frequently resembles a blood sport. So why this uncanny display of generosity to a competitor and why were just these 11 banks involved?

Yesterday we had an epiphany. We pulled up the most recent table from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency showing the 25 bank holding companies that have the largest exposure to derivatives. Sure enough, each of those 11 banks is on the list. ...

... For the remainder of the analysis:

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