HomeTrading NewsWhat First Republic’s results mean for the regional bank trade, according to Wall Street

What First Republic’s results mean for the regional bank trade, according to Wall Street

First Republic ‘s quarterly update left investors with major questions about whether the bank can repair itself after massive withdrawals, but the regional bank troubles appear to now be limited to just a small corner of the industry, according to Wall Street analysts. The troubled regional lender reported its first-quarter results Monday, showing a 40.8% drop in deposits that was steeper than analyst estimates. Without the $30 billion deposited at First Republic last month by large U.S., net outflows would have topped $100 billion. The bank said deposits have stabilized in recent weeks and that it was taking steps to cut expenses and shrink its balance sheet, while also exploring strategic options. Management did not take questions from analysts, leaving the market with a murky outlook about the long-term plan for the bank. “Taking no questions on the call and disclosure that there is no certainty in the future of the bank if unable to strengthen the business speaks volumes. FRC’s existence still very much hangs in the balance,” Wells Fargo analyst Jared Shaw wrote in a note to clients. Wells Fargo kept its equal weight rating on the stock. FRC 1D mountain FRC tumbles However, several other regional banks had already reported their first-quarter results and showed much smaller deposit declines than First Republic — which was seen by many as the weakest bank after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month. “Mid-cap bank earnings to date have shown that industry deposit concerns are isolated to a handful of banks, and FRC’s results are not indicative of the broader group’s resiliency,” Shaw said in a companion note. Bank of America’s Ebrahim Poonawala said in a note that First Republic was due for a large transformation just to find stability. “The deposit flight, talent/client attrition and the impact from mgmt’s announced plan to cut headcount by 20-25% eliminates any potential that the bank could return to its former state,” Poonawala said. But the Bank of America analyst echoed Shaw’s view that First Republic’s precarious position was not indicative of the broader industry. “We do not see FRC’s deposit trends as a read through for any of the banks in our coverage universe. Results from regional banks over the last two weeks demonstrated the stickiness of the deposit customer base. While banks are likely to see their net interest margins come under pressure due to rising funding costs, we do not see this as translating into the liquidity event that occurred at SVB, Signature and First Republic,” Poonawala said. Shares of First Republic were down more than 35% on Tuesday and set a new intraday low for the year. Here are a few other notable analyst reactions to First Republic’s report: Piper Sandler lowered its price target on the stock to $13 per share from $15: “We were disappointed that the company did not set aside time for Q & A on the conference call, leaving many questions unanswered, including related to the changes in funding mix, the pace of loan decline and cost saves associated with the headcount reduction, among others.” Citi downgraded the stock to sell/high risk from under review: “The high cost of its borrowings relative to its earning assets puts it under-water and likely generates losses until it can right-size the balance sheet.” Wedbush: “Our base case is that First Republic continues to move forward as a standalone company. … We expect FRC to embrace a new approach and a different business model, as it adjusts to operating with a smaller balance sheet. Janney downgraded First Republic to sell from neutral, saying the bank needed to “pull off the mother of all pivots to survive.” Barclays lowered its price target to $15 per share from $17: “FRC will need to restructure its balance sheet and reduce and short-term borrowings in order to return to profitability. We expect the company to curtail loan originations and sell new production while attempting to restart insured deposit growth. Additional actions to expedite this processes would be welcomed.” — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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