By Emily Bary and Bill Peters
First Republic faces 'significant challenges,' Moody's says; First Republic stock ended more than 30% lower on Friday
Moody's Investors Service downgraded its credit rating on First Republic Bank to junk late Friday, citing a "deterioration in the bank's financial profile."
First Republic's (FRC) debt rating was cut to B2 from Baa1, Moody's said. Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings downgraded First Republic Bank's debt earlier this week.
The downgrade reflects "the deterioration in the bank's financial profile and the significant challenges First Republic Bank faces over the medium term in light of its increased reliance on short-term and higher cost wholesale funding due to deposit outflows," Moody's analysts said in a release.
They cited various recent developments with First Republic, including the company's Thursday disclosure that over the previous week its Federal Reserve borrowings ranged from $20 billion to $109 billion. Also Thursday, the bank received a $30 billion deposit infusion from 11 major U.S. banks
"Moody's believes the high cost of these borrowings, combined with the high proportion of fixed rate assets at the bank, is likely to have a large negative impact on First Republic's core profitability in coming quarters," the analysts said. "In addition, the rating agency noted that while the news of the banking consortium's deposits is positive in the short-run, the longer-run path for the bank back to sustained profitability remains uncertain."
First Republic is reportedly looking to raise money from other banks or private-equity firms by selling additional shares, according to the New York Times.
Shares of the company have plunged 80% from the close of trading on March 8, just before Silicon Valley Bank spooked investors with an update on its business and a planned stock sale. First Republic lost 33% in Friday's session despite the deposit arrangement with the large banks. Shares were down another 6% in the extended session Friday.
Moody's said its outlook was maintained at "rating under review." That review for downgrade, it said, "reflects the continuing challenges to the bank's medium-term credit profile in light of its significantly eroded deposit base, increased reliance on short-term wholesale funding and sizeable volume of unrealized losses on its investment securities."
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03-17-23 2307ETCopyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.