First Republic Bank, the most imperiled U.S. lender after last month’s banking crisis, on Monday disclosed the grisly details of just how troubled its business has become — and not much else.
In the bank’s highly anticipated first update to investors since entering a free-fall over the past month and a half, its leaders said little. In a conference call to discuss its first quarter results with Wall Street analysts, the bank’s executives offered just 10 minutes of prepared remarks and declined to take questions, leaving investors and the public with few answers about how it would steer out of its malaise.
One thing is certain: The bank, which caters to a well-heeled clientele on the coasts, is hanging on by a thread. During the first quarter, it lost a staggering $102 billion in customer deposits — well over half of the $176 billion it held at the end of last year — not including a temporary $30 billion lifeline it received from the nation’s biggest banks last month.
First Republic reported a quarterly profit of $269 million, down one-third from a year earlier. Its shares fell 15 percent in extended trading following the release of its results.
The bank said that the deposit exodus largely ceased by the last week of March. From March 31 to April 21, the bank said that it lost only 1.7 percent of its deposits and that most of those were related to tax payments by its clients.
The bank’s slide began roughly six weeks ago, when the midsize lenders Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank were taken over by federal regulators after customers pulled a big chunk of their deposits. First Republic, based in San Francisco, was widely seen as the lender most likely to fall next, because it had many clients in the start-up industry — similar to Silicon Valley Bank — and many of its accounts held more than $250,000, the limit for federal deposit insurance.
First Republic’s stock rose more than 10 percent on Monday ahead of its earnings report, but is down more than 85 percent since mid March.
First Republic has been in talks with financial advisers and government officials to come up with a plan to save itself that could include selling the bank or parts of it, or raising new capital.
Much more remains to be done. The bank said on Monday that it would cut as much as a quarter of its work force, and slash executive compensation by an unspecified amount.