On March 12, JPMorgan Chase & Co provided $10 billion in financing to the struggling First Republic Bank. The JPMorgan facility did not prevent depositors from leaving the lender. Still, it initiated a series of events that led to JPMorgan and CEO Jamie Dimon playing a crucial role in a significant U.S. bank rescue.
Winning Government Auction Amidst Failed Rescue Attempts
On Monday, JPMorgan acquired First Republic in a government auction after weeks of unsuccessful rescue attempts and halted discussions involving top Wall Street executives and U.S. officials. The deal negotiations went down to the wire, with four bidders, including JPMorgan, making it to the final rounds of the auction on Sunday night.
Cementing Dimon's Reputation as a Powerful Wall Street Banker
The final deal announced around 3:30 a.m., further solidified Dimon's reputation as a leading Wall Street banker. However, it also raised concerns about the risks of having banks that are too big to fail, the quality of regulatory oversight, and the Biden administration's commitment to preventing corporations from becoming overly powerful through deals.
JPMorgan's Growing Interest in the First Republic
At some point, JPMorgan's interest in the First Republic developed beyond its role as an adviser, helping the bank strengthen its finances. The lender's roster of wealthy clients was particularly attractive, as it would add to JPMorgan's private banking franchise.
Overcoming Regulatory Hurdles and Exploring Acquisition Options
Although it was initially believed that regulators would not permit JPMorgan to acquire another bank, the company started exploring various options for the First Republic, including an acquisition. The deal, internally code-named "Forest," involved keeping teams separate and having Lazard Ltd as an adviser.
The Final Bid: JPMorgan Emerges as Top Contender
Ultimately, the FDIC's advisors examined each bid based on its merits, ultimately choosing JPMorgan's pitch to buy the entire bank over partial bids from PNC Financial Services Group, Citizens Financial Group Inc, and Fifth Third Bancorp.