February 22nd, 2024

New York Community Bancorp tries to reassure investors, but its stock falls again

By Ken Sweet, The Associated Press on February 7, 2024.

The logo for New York Community Bancorp is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. New York Community Bancorp Inc. on Wednesday reported a loss of $252 million in its fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of New York Community Bancorp fell another 11% Wednesday after the bank’s credit rating got downgraded to “junk” and investors worried that regional lender could suffer the same fate Silicon Valley Bank did last year.

NYCB’s shares have been in a steep decline since last week, after the bank reported significant losses on some commercial real estate loans and indicated it was struggling to digest last year’s purchase of Signature Bank. The stock lost about 40% after the release of the bank’s earnings report.

NYCB bought most of the assets of Signature Bank last year when Signature failed right after Silicon Valley Bank in mid-March. The purchase of Signature made NYCB a much larger bank by assets, which by law puts it under more pressure from regulators. The bank had to cut its dividend and increase its capital and liquidity ratios to meet regulators’ requirements.

There have also been concerns about NYCB’s commercial real estate portfolio. The bank reported a surprise loss of $252 million for the fourth quarter, including a provision for credit losses of $552 million, much of it tied to real estate.

Shares plunged another 22% Tuesday. After the market closed, the ratings agency Moody’s downgraded the bank’s credit rating to junk status. Shares bounced back in premarket trading Wednesday after the bank said that 72% of its deposits are insured and that it has liquidity of $37.3 billion, which exceeds uninsured deposits. But the stock resumed falling after the opening bell.

“Despite the Moody’s ratings downgrade, our deposit ratings from Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS remain investment grade,” said bank CEO Thomas Cangemi. “The Moody’s downgrade is not expected to have a material impact on our contractual arrangements.”

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