May 2, 2023
First Republic Bank downgraded again as banking woes continue
First Republic Bank, a San Francisco-based bank, has been downgraded again by Moody's Investors Service due to ongoing concerns about the bank's asset quality and credit risk management.
This is the second time in less than a year that Moody's has downgraded First Republic Bank's rating. The bank's long-term deposit rating was lowered from A1 to A2, while its senior unsecured debt rating was downgraded from A2 to A3.
Moody's cited several reasons for the downgrade, including the bank's high concentration of commercial real estate loans, which make up more than half of its loan portfolio. The rating agency also expressed concern about the bank's exposure to the technology and healthcare sectors, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, Moody's noted that First Republic Bank's credit risk management practices have not kept pace with the bank's rapid growth in recent years. The bank's loan portfolio has more than doubled since 2015, and Moody's believes that the bank's risk management infrastructure has not kept up with this growth.
First Republic Bank has been one of the fastest-growing banks in the United States in recent years, with a focus on high-net-worth individuals and small businesses. However, the bank's rapid growth has also led to concerns about its ability to manage risk effectively.
The bank's CEO, Jim Herbert, has acknowledged these concerns and has pledged to improve the bank's risk management practices. In a recent earnings call, Herbert said that the bank is committed to maintaining a strong risk culture and continuing to invest in our risk management infrastructure.
Despite these assurances, Moody's remains cautious about the bank's prospects. In its downgrade report, the rating agency warned that the bank's asset quality and credit risk management remain key risks to its credit profile.
The downgrade is a blow to First Republic Bank, which has prided itself on its reputation for strong credit quality and risk management. However, the bank's management team will need to take decisive action to address these concerns if they hope to regain Moody's confidence and maintain their position as one of the top banks in the United States.