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The Conversation

Opinion: First Republic’s failure exposes a flawed system where bank CEOs are not held accountable

Executives are encouraged to take big risks to boost profits — with few consequences if their bets go bad

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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First Republic Bank FRC became the second-biggest bank failure in U.S. history after the lender was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and sold to JPMorgan Chase JPM on May 1. First Republic is the latest victim of the panic that has roiled small- and midsize banks since the failure of Silicon Valley Bank last March.

The collapse of SVB and now First Republic underscores how the impact of risky decisions at one bank can quickly spread into the broader financial system. It should also provide the impetus for policymakers...