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Report: FDIC Seeking Buyers for Republic First Bancorp

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is reportedly in talks with potential buyers for Republic First Bancorp., a Philadelphia regional bank that does business as Republic Bank.

The regulator is approaching potential buyers and seeking bids for the bank, which has traded at a market value of less than $1 million for much of April after reaching a peak of more than $500 million in 2017, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (April 24), citing unnamed sources.

Republic First Bancorp did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

The FDIC sought bidders for the bank in late 2023 but paused that effort when Republic First reached a deal with an investor that was to invest $35 million in the bank, according to the report. However, that deal was terminated in February.

In a July 2023 letter to shareholders, Republic First Bancorp Chairman Andrew B. Cohen and President and CEO Thomas X. Geisel, who had both recently assumed new leadership roles, noted that the bank had been through “some difficult times.”

They attributed this in part to former leadership’s “ill-advised” expansion of the bank’s physical footprint; building of long-term fixed-rate residential loan and bond portfolios at a time of low interest rates; and failure to maintain appropriate internal controls related to a system’s conversion.

In an effort to cut costs, Republic First cut jobs last year and exited the mortgage origination business, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Its shares trade over the counter after being delisted from Nasdaq in August 2023, according to the report.

At the time it was delisted, Republic Bank said in a press release that it would no longer be listed on the exchange because it had not yet filed its annual report on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for fiscal year 2022.

“Republic’s audit and financial filings have been delayed, in part, by the former executive team’s failure to maintain adequate internal controls and related to a systems conversion implemented in June 2022,” the release said. “Consequently, the audit process that the new management and the company’s external advisors had to undertake has been extensive and time-consuming.”

The bank operates 32 locations in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City, according to the Bloomberg report.