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Confessions of a Panicked First Republic Client, Me


Sometime over the weekend, or was it Friday—I can’t remember now; it’s all a blur—I heard the news. There was a run on my bank.

“Check the Daily Mail,” my wife had said.

“No more Harry and Meghan,” I replied. Like most of the world, I was sick unto death with hearing about that pair.

“No. Our bank. There’s a run on First Republic! They’re lined up in front of the Brentwood branch.”

She meant fancy-schmancy Brentwood, California, one-time home of OJ Simpson and current home of many celebs, not Brentwood, Tennessee, only about fifteen minutes from our Nashville home where we have lived going on five years now.

Still, we kept our account back in California at First Republic, the Studio City branch. It was the place we did our daily business, paying bills and accepting payments despite its being around 2,000 miles away.

Don’t ask why, but it did have good reviews way back when, although I can’t remember what they said—anyway, doesn’t everyone do all their banking online?

But whatever the case, this was obviously not good news.

I had already learned the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was on the ropes, simultaneously learning, for the first time obviously, what the initials SVB stood for, and that an operation called Silvergate Capital had been shut down a few days before that might have had something to do with crypto.

Shortly thereafter I found Jim Cramer, Forbes, and Bloomberg all had thought SVB the bee’s knees, recommending it to all, despite, or maybe because of, the bank’s devotion to woke. (What do these banks think they are—universities?)

Would First Republic be the next to go—and with it our cash? We were under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insurance level, but who trusts the government these days to make a timely payout?

Unless you’re part of their prime constituency—a high-tech solar energy startup approaching insolvency, say, or the CEO of SVB who apparently sold $3.2 million in stock the week before the company collapsed—you will have to wait in a long line for your supposedly insured money.

And who wants to remain with a bank that’s that badly mismanaged anyway?

Thus began a weekend of high anxiety that hasn’t really ended.

Where to transfer our funds, if indeed we could transfer them?

Picking a bank is no easy deal, especially if you have even a modicum of a conscience or, for that matter, an interest in preserving our tenuous republic.

Vivek Ramaswamy—who clearly knows more about technology and business than almost all presidential candidates in recent memory—said on Tucker Carlson’s show Monday night that this crisis will lead to enhancing Chinese-style social credit scores domestically.

That only added to my anxiety.

For a long time, my wife and I wanted to put our money in a community bank here in Tennessee. We did a little, even had basically empty accounts open and waiting, only to discover just now with the most routine online search that the bank was in danger too, being blocked from a merger.

Local banks in general, it is becoming common knowledge, are fragile. Everyone is being pointed to the big four—Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America—making for a consolidation that lends credence to Ramaswamy’s point.

Our money’s being fenced in and we’re being fenced in with it.

The administration is doing the usual, bailing out its friends while leaving the rest of us floundering. Ramaswamy explains in his latest NYPost op-ed:

“Silicon Valley wanted a different set of rules for itself.

So Sunday, venture capitalists and startup executives who stood to lose their SVB deposits worked overtime to push the narrative that there would be a bank run Monday if the bank’s uninsured depositors weren’t bailed out by the government Sunday.

Narrowly, the gambit worked: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced Sunday night that tech companies that deposited funds at SVB, even those that parked far too much money there without diversifying, would be made whole.

That’s crony capitalism—changing the rules after the fact to help a select few.”

Indeed. And we, the taxpayers, will eventually be paying for those bailouts despite President Joe Biden’s pronouncements on the subject.

Not to worry, however. Like Biden and his Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the directors of First Republic have been providing constant reassuring pabulum via email and on their website to their depositors.

So, after all this, what did we do, you may be wondering.

We buckled. We opened accounts at BofA—the folks at the local branch were very nice, fully realizing the tense situation—and are waiting for our money to be transferred from the Studio City First Republic.

I was told it would only take twenty-four hours.

We will see.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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