Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 2 May 2023

Is the Failure of First Republic Another Example of ‘Get Woke, Go Broke’?

It was announced this morning that JP Morgan is going to take over First Republic, following its seizure over the weekend by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. NBC News has more:

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced simultaneously Monday morning that it had seized the bank and that JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, would be purchasing substantially all of the bank’s assets and deposits.

A spokesperson for the Treasury Department sought to reassure the markets and the public after First Republic, with $229.1 billion in total assets at the time of closure, eclipsed Silicon Valley Bank ($209 billion at the time of closure) to become the second-largest bank failure in American history.

First Republic becomes the third U.S. bank to go under in the past two months, the first being Silicon Valley Bank and the second being Signature Bank. Is this another case of ’Get Woke, Go Broke’? Many commentators blamed the collapse of SVB on the fact that its directors seemed more focused on burnishing their woke credentials than managing existential risks, singling out the head of Financial Risk Management at SVB’s U.K. branch, Jay Ersapah, who acted as the Chief Risk Officer for SVB in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. She launched initiatives such as the company’s first month-long Pride campaign and published a blog emphasising mental health awareness for LGBTQ+ youth.

Can the same be said of First Republic? Unlike SVB, First Republic did have a Chief Risk Officer in the U.S. – Stephanie Bontemps. On First Republic’s website it says of her: “Taking a strategic and tactical approach to Environmental, Social, and Governance expectations is a top priority including assessing the impact of climate change and related risk management.”

She wasn’t the only senior employee of the bank to prioritise ESG. In 2021, it became the first large U.S. bank to stop lending to the fossil fuels industry, proclaiming it has become ‘carbon neutral’ that same year. Last month, the Washington Examiner published a good piece setting out how an obsession with ESG had prompted senior executives and board members of SVP, Signature and First Republic to focus on ‘climate risk’ at the expense of other, more prosaic risks to banks, such as making sure your assets cover your liabilities.

Even Credit Suisse, the most systemically important bank to fail thus far, believed in “sustainable finance for a better world” and did its part to direct capital toward the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The Swiss bank also actively promoted its transgender “allyship” by having a high-profile, non-binary, gender-fluid section head within its Global Markets Technology group.

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