Western Alliance Bank refutes reports of sale amid chaos

The Financial Times reports that Western Alliance Bank is considering a sale. Stocks fell after the news. But the bank vehemently denies any sale is imminent, sending shares higher.

An article in the Financial Times on Thursday said Western Alliance is considering various strategic options, including selling all or part of its business, as the bank seeks to navigate ongoing turmoil in the US banking sector. The bank has reportedly engaged advisers to explore its options. However, the people involved said the deliberations are still at an early stage. The story took a bizarre turn just hours later as the bank denied it was considering a sale.

American banks are on edge

According to an updated version of the Financial Times story, the bank told the London-based newspaper that such rumors are “categorically false in every way.” And the Financial Times went on to quote a spokesman for the bank saying: “Western Alliance is not exploring a sale, nor has it appointed an advisor to explore strategic options.”

But the initial news sent banking stocks lower. It is a sign that investors are still very wary of the precarious state of the financial and banking sectors. Shares of the bank fell more than 46%, according to CNBC, before rebounding.

Denial aside, malaise is widespread. On the same day, shares of California-based lender Backwest Bancorp ceased trading. The discontinuation was due to a sudden 42% drop in PacWest inventory.

PacWest is said to be in talks with potential investors after shares plunged as much as 60%. Reports have emerged that the bank is looking at strategic options. Including a sale or fundraising tour.

The lender attempted to reassure investors and customers in a May 4 update posted on its website. Trying to convince them that the news that has rocked the banking world in recent weeks and months has left PacWest largely unchanged.

“The bank did not experience abnormal inflows of deposits following the sale of First Republic Bank and other news,” the bank’s statement read. It noted an increase in core customer deposits since March 31, to a total of $28 billion currently.

But the US banking sector has been on edge since the collapse of three banks in March. Like the overthrow of Silvergate, Signature Bank, and Silicon Valley’s biggest banking crisis since 2008. Time will tell where it ends and which banks are left standing.


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