NYCB Tumbles as Beleaguered Lender Tries to Raise Equity Capital

(Bloomberg) — New York Community Bancorp dropped as much as 47% as the beleaguered commercial real estate lender tries to raise equity capital to restore investor confidence.

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Bankers are gauging investors’ interest in buying stock, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. The company is working with advisers including Jefferies Financial Group Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The shares have lost more than three-quarters of their value this year after NYCB slashed its dividend and set aside more provisions than expected for loan losses. Last week, it announced it was replacing its chief executive officer and had identified “material weaknesses” in how it tracks loan risks.

Read More: NYCB Ballooned Despite Real Estate Warnings in Years Before Fall

Representatives for NYCB didn’t immediately respond to calls and messages seeking comment. Jefferies declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported the attempts to raise equity capital earlier Wednesday.

Trading was halted for pending news at 12:34 p.m. in New York, with the stock down 42% at the time of the halt. They’re down 82% this year.

NYCB is a major lender to owners of apartment buildings subject to tough New York rent laws, limiting the revenue units can generate. It also financed offices in a region beset by vacancies in the work-from-home era.

Credit-rating firms have slashed the company’s grades to junk, with Moody’s Investors Service predicting the bank may set aside more money for souring loans over the next two years.

Some of the pressure on NYCB was exacerbated by its rapid growth through acquisitions in recent years. Takeovers of rival lender Flagstar Bancorp and parts of Signature Bank almost doubled the firm’s size. As its assets swelled beyond $100 billion, NYCB faced more stringent capital requirements for so-called Category IV banks in light of their systemic importance.

–With assistance from Gillian Tan, David Scheer and Katherine Doherty.

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