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Former Merrill Unit First Republic Bank Plans IPO

Five months after being carved out of Merrill Lynch in an investor consortium buyout, First Republic Bank on Wednesday registered plans to go public.

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The size and terms of the initial public offering were not disclosedin Wednesday's document, but according to regulatory filings, the bank held assets of $21.9 billion and had $19 billion in deposits as of September 30.

The bank has over $17 billion in loans outstanding, most of which are secured by California real estate, which was hit particularly hard during the housing slump.

Merrill Lynch acquired First Republic in September 2007 in a $1.8 billion transaction. Merrill Lynch was purchased subsequent to that by Bank of America as a bailout measure during the depths of the financial crisis.

More recently, First Republic, which caters its full-fledged banking services to wealthy people, was bought out in a $1.86 billion management-led deal, which included Colony Capital and General Atlantic as investors.

First Republic operates 61 offices, mostly in the California, New York, and Boston areas. It plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol "FRC."