BofA Mulls Sale of First Republic: Report

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are considered possible buyers of First Republic Bank, a report says.
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Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

is looking to sell First Republic Bank, a private bank it inherited from

Merrill Lynch

, as BofA tries to preserve capital and possibly shed noncore assets, the

Wall Street Journal

reports, citing people familiar with the situation.

First Republic was purchased by Merrill for $1.8 billion in September 2007. It's been run as a standalone unit with its own brand name and management, the

Journal

adds.

The newspaper says questions about First Republic's future have swirled ever since Bank of America agreed in September to buy Merrill. Bank of America already has a wealth-management business, U.S. Trust, which was acquired from

Charles Schwab

(SCHW) - Get Report

.

At the time Merrill purchased the bank, First Republic, with operations across the U.S., had $10 billion of deposits.

Possible buyers of First Republic include

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

and

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

, according to the

Journal

. Those two companies are trying to expand their deposit-gathering businesses as part of their recent conversion to bank-holding companies. Goldman and Morgan Stanley declined to comment for the

Journal

story.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.