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2023: First Republic Bank Seized, Sold In Fire Sale To JPMorgan



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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Regulators seized insolvent First Republic Bank early Monday, making it the second-largest bank failure in US history, and immediately sold all of its deposits and most of its assets to JPMorgan Chase to resolve the upheaval that has raised concerns about the soundness of the US banking system.

It is the third midsize bank to go under in less than two months. The only larger bank failure in US history was Washington Mutual, which went bankrupt at the height of the 2008 financial crisis and was taken over by JPMorgan in a similar government-managed deal.

“Our government invited us and others to step up, and we did,” JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said.

JPMorgan Chase took over First Republic’s 84 locations on Monday, acquiring the bank’s $92 billion in deposits and $203 billion in loans and other instruments. The bank’s stockholders are expected to be wiped out as part of the sale.

In a conference call with reporters and investors, Dimon stated that “this part of this (banking) crisis is over.” Other midsize banks reported their results last week, and the vast majority of them showed that deposits had stabilized and profits remained healthy. The First Republic was an outlier.

Before this year, First Republic was the banking industry’s envy. Its opulent branches provided warm cookies to its clients, who were nearly entirely wealthy and powerful. Its bankers enticed wealthy clients with low-cost mortgages and appealing savings rates to sell them on higher-profit ventures such as wealth management and brokerage accounts. In exchange, the wealthy rarely defaulted on their loans and deposited large sums of money in banks that could be borrowed elsewhere.

However, with Silicon Valley Bank’s and Signature Bank’s failures, that business model of catering to the wealthy became a liability. These banks had many uninsured deposits or deposits that exceeded the FDIC’s $250,000 limit. Clients with big accounts at First Republic, like those at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, quickly withdrew their funds at the first sign of problems.

first republic

In a note to investors, Timothy Coffey, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, stated, “Too many (First Republic) customers demonstrated their true loyalties were to their fears.”

Last month, a group of a dozen banks put together a $30 billion funding package for the First Republic, which appeared to stop the bleeding of deposits for a time. However, it became clear that the First Republic needed more time: it needed to find a buyer or find new sources of funding to replace the deposits that had left the bank.

The First Republic intended to liquidate underperforming assets, such as low-interest mortgages supplied to rich clients. It also disclosed plans to lay off up to a quarter of its workers, estimated to be over 7,200 in late 2022. Analysts, though, saw it as too little, too late. For weeks, the bank appeared to be on the verge of failing.

According to Jeremy Barnum, JPMorgan’s chief financial officer, the $30 billion deal “bought time when time was needed” for the First Republic.

Last Monday, First Republic reported its first-quarter results, shocking analysts and investors by revealing that $100 billion in deposits had flowed out of the bank, most of which occurred in mid-March, immediately following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. During an earnings conference call, its executives took no questions from analysts. The stock of First Republic dropped by more than 50% the next day.

By the middle of last week, it was evident that the government needed to intervene in the First Republic. Treasury officials requested that banks submit bids for the First Republic, and bankers and regulators worked all weekend to find a solution.

first republic

JPMorgan is so large that it would be illegal to buy the First Republic.

JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank and a dealmaker in times of crisis, was once again the government’s go-to bank. Last month, Treasury officials appointed JPMorgan to head the $30 billion rescue package. Dimon was Washington’s go-to banker 2008 to find private solutions to the banking crisis, and JPMorgan acquired both Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.

The Federal Reserve and FDIC, which, together with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, govern the banking industry, may face greater scrutiny for their management of First Republic. Both admitted in separate studies on Friday that inadequate supervision contributed to Silicon Valley Bank’s and Signature Bank’s failures.

“When interest rates were low, these banks were allowed to grow too big too fast,” Coffey explained in an interview.

There may now be concerns about JPMorgan Chase’s size, which has more than $3 trillion in assets and is by far the largest of the “too big to fail” firms worldwide.

Regulators “allowed the country’s largest bank to grow even larger.” “We expect this to be a Democratic focus for months,” said TD Cowen banking analyst Jaret Seiberg.

JPMorgan is so large that it would be illegal to buy the First Republic since no bank in the United States can have more than a 10% market share of deposits. JPMorgan was only able to step in because the First Republic failed.

JPMorgan described the First Republic transaction as favorable to the financial system and the company statement. As part of the arrangement, the FDIC will share losses on First Republic’s loans with JPMorgan. The FDIC estimates that First Republic’s failure will cost the insurance fund approximately $13 billion, which bank assessments rather than taxpayers pay.

JPMorgan anticipates First Republic to increase its net income by $500 million yearly, but it expects to incur $2 billion in costs integrating First Republic into its operations over the next 18 months.

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Regulators Take Aim At AI To Protect Consumers And Workers




NEW YORK — The nation’s finance authority has pledged to ensure that businesses comply with the Regulators law when utilizing artificial intelligence in light of rising concerns over increasingly capable AI systems like ChatGPT.

Automated systems and algorithms already heavily influence credit scores, loan conditions, bank account fees, and other monetary factors. Human resources, real estate, and working conditions are all impacted by AI.

According to Electronic Privacy Information Centre Senior Counsel Ben Winters Regulators, the federal agencies’ joint statement on enforcement released last month was a good starting step.

However, “there’s this narrative that AI is entirely unregulated, which is not really true,” he argued. “What they’re arguing is, ‘Just because you utilise AI to make a judgement, it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from responsibility for the repercussions of that decision. This is how we feel about it. “We are watching.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued fines to financial institutions in the past year for using new technology and flawed algorithms, leading to improper foreclosures, repossessions, and lost payments of homes, cars, and government benefits payments.


These enforcement proceedings are used as instances of how there will be no “AI exemptions” to consumer protection, according to regulators.

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rohit Chopra stated that the organization is “continuing to identify potentially illegal activity” and has “already started some work to continue to muscle up internally when it comes to bringing on board data scientists, technologists, and others to make sure we can confront these challenges.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) joins the Federal Trade Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, and others in claiming they are allocating resources and personnel to target emerging technologies and expose their potentially detrimental effects on consumers.

Chopra emphasized the importance of organizations understanding the decision-making process of their AI systems before implementing them. “In other cases, we are looking at how the use of all this data complies with our fair lending laws and Regulators.”

Financial institutions are required to report reasons for negative credit decisions by law, per the Fair Credit Regulators Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, for instance. Decisions about housing and work are also subject to these rules. Regulators have warned against using AI systems whose decision-making processes are too complex to explain.

Chopra speculated, “I think there was a sense that, ‘Oh, let’s just give it to the robots and there will be no more discrimination,'” I think what we’ve learned is that that’s not the case. The data itself may contain inherent biases.


Regulators have warned against using AI systems whose decision-making processes are too complex to explain.

Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Charlotte Burrows has pledged enforcement action against artificial intelligence (AI) Regulators recruiting technology that discriminates against people with disabilities and so-called “bossware” that illegally monitors employees.

Burrows also discussed the potential for algorithms to dictate illegal working conditions and hours to people.

She then added, “You need a break if you have a disability or perhaps you’re pregnant.” The algorithm only sometimes accounts for that kind of modification. Those are the sorts of things we’re taking a careful look at… The underlying message here is that laws still apply, and we have resources to enforce them; I don’t want anyone to misunderstand that just because technology is changing.

At a conference earlier this month, OpenAI’s top lawyer advocated for an industry-led approach to regulation.

OpenAI’s general counsel, Jason Kwon, recently spoke at a technology summit in Washington, DC, held by software industry group BSA. Industry standards and a consensus on them would be a good place to start. More debate is warranted about whether these should be mandated and how often they should be revised.


At a conference earlier this month, OpenAI’s top lawyer advocated for an industry-led approach to regulation.

The CEO of OpenAI, the company responsible for creating ChatGPT, Sam Altman, recently stated that government action “will be critical to mitigate the risks of increasingly powerful” AI systems and advocated for establishing a U.S. or global body to license and regulate the technology.

Altman and other tech CEOs were invited to the White House this month to confront tough questions about the consequences of these tools, even though there is no indication that Congress would draught sweeping new AI legislation like European politicians are doing.

As they have in the past with new consumer financial products and technologies, the agencies could do more to study and publish information on the relevant AI markets, how the industry is working, who the biggest players are, and how the information collected is being used, according to Winters of the Electronic Privacy Information Centre.

He said that “Buy Now, Pay Later” businesses had been dealt with effectively by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “The AI ecosystem has a great deal of undiscovered territory. Putting that knowledge out there would help.


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2023: Nvidia Signals How Artificial Intelligence Could Reshape Technology Sector




WASHINGTON — The U.S. Shares of Nvidia, already one of the most valuable businesses in the world, soared Thursday after the chipmaker forecasted a massive increase in revenue, indicating how dramatically the expanding use of artificial intelligence might transform the computer sector.

After a 25% rise in early trade, the California corporation is on its way to joining the exclusive club of $1 trillion companies like Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft.

The developer of graphics chips for gaming and artificial intelligence posted a quarterly profit of more than $2 billion and revenue of $7 billion late Wednesday, above Wall Street projections.

However, Wall Street was caught off stride by its projections for $11 billion in sales this quarter. It’s a 64% increase over the same period last year and far above the $7.2 billion industry analysts predicted.

“It appears that the new gold rush has begun, and NVIDIA is selling all the picks and shovels,” wrote Susquehanna Financial Group’s Christopher Rolland and Matt Myers on Thursday.

Chipmakers throughout the world were dragged along. Taiwan Semiconductor increased by 3.5%, while SK Hynix in South Korea rose by 5%. ASML, situated in the Netherlands, increased by 4.8%.


The U.S. Shares of Nvidia are already one of the most valuable businesses in the world.

Jensen Huang, creator and CEO of Nvidia, stated that the world’s data centers require a makeover due to the transformation that AI technology will bring.

“The world’s $1 trillion data center is nearly entirely populated by (central processing NVIDIA units) today,” Huang remarked. “And $1 trillion, $250 billion a year, it’s growing, but over the last four years, call it $1 trillion in infrastructure installed, and it’s all based on CPUs and dumb NICs.” It is essentially unaccelerated.”

AI chips are intended to conduct artificial intelligence NVIDIA tasks more quickly and efficiently. While general-purpose processors, such as CPUs, can be utilized for lesser AI activities, they are “becoming less and less useful as AI advances,” according to 2020 research from Georgetown University’s Centre for Security and Emerging Technology.

“Because of their unique features, AI chips are tens or even thousands of times faster and more efficient than CPUs for training and inference of AI algorithms,” the paper continues, saying that AI chips can also be more cost-effective than CPUs because of their higher efficiency.

According to analysts, Nvidia could be an early indicator of how AI will impact the tech sector.

“Last night, Nvidia gave jaw-dropping robust guidance that will be heard around the world and shows the historical demand for AI happening now in the enterprise and consumer landscape,” stated Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “We would point any investor calling this an AI bubble to this Nvidia quarter, particularly guidance, which cements our bullish thesis around AI and speaks to the 4th Industrial Revolution now on the horizon with AI.”


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China Defends Ban On US Chipmaker Micron in 2023




BEIJING, China – The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. in some computer systems on Wednesday after Washington raised concern, escalating tensions over technology and security.

The security examination of Micron products was “conducted in accordance with the law,” according to Mao Ning, a foreign ministry official.

On Sunday, the Chinese Cyberspace Administration stated that Micron goods pose unspecified security threats but provided no further details. It barred them from using computers that handled sensitive data.

This came after the United States, Japan, and the Netherlands barred China’s access to advanced processor chip technology on security grounds, at a time when the governing Communist Party is threatening to attack Taiwan and is becoming more belligerent towards its Asian neighbors.

China’s cybersecurity review does not target any specific countries or regions,” Mao explained. “We do not exclude technologies and products from any country.”

Supply disruptions and missed sales revenue have harmed businesses on both sides.

Washington and its allies’ restrictions on access to chips and methods for making them deter China’s ambitions to create its semiconductor sector. Potential sales to Chinese smartphone makers, chip foundries, and other clients have cost US vendors billions.


The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc.

Mao said the US had put security limitations on over 1,200 Chinese enterprises “without any factual basis.” She accused Washington of exploiting national security to “unreasonably suppress Chinese companies.”

“This is economic coercion, and it is unacceptable,” Mao declared.

According to State Department spokeswoman Matthew Miller, the US administration is “engaging directly” with Beijing to “make our view clear” on the Micron embargo.

“We have very serious concerns,” Miller added. He stated of China, “This action appears inconsistent with the PRC’s assertions that it is open for business and committed to a transparent regulatory framework.”

According to Micron’s chief financial officer, Mark Murphy, the company would work with the Chinese authorities to assess the ban’s impact.

“We remain unclear as to what security concerns exist,” Murphy said during a JP Morgan technology industry conference call. “We have received no customer complaints about the security of our products.”

According to Murphy, Micron expects to lose sales similar to a single-digit percentage of total revenue, but the exact figure will depend on which customers and products are affected.


The Chinese government defended its restriction on using components from US memory chipmaker Micron Technology Inc.

Foreign Minister Qin Gang urged his Dutch counterpart on Tuesday for access to chipmaking technology that has been restricted for security reasons.

China requires a machine that uses ultraviolet light to etch minuscule circuits on next-generation chips and is only available from one Dutch manufacturer, ASML Holding NV. Without it, the ruling party’s aspirations to build semiconductors for cellphones, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge applications will be hampered.

“China has serious concerns about this,” Qin said. “We should work together to jointly protect the normal trade order between us” and “keep global industrial and supply chains stable.”

Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch minister, stated that he “shared our national security concerns” but provided no indication that his government’s position had altered.


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