Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mid-size bank M&A largely on hold

BB&T CEO Kelly King says his bank has free capital and wants to buy another bank. But he told an audience of investors that merger and acquisition activity among banks like is largely on hold.

Two reasons why: Regulators are still trying to figure out what size they want banks to be, King said, and CEOs are wary of taking on the legal risk of another institution.

"M&A is just really hard for all of us to figure out right now," King told the Credit Suisse investor conference in Boca Raton, Fla.

BB&T has about $180 billion in assets, placing it solidly in a class of banks sometimes called "super regionals." This category also includes the likes of PNC, SunTrust and Fifth Third.

King said he doesn't believe regulators have a problem with a bank that's $300 billion to $400 billion in assets, and said that gives BB&T an opportunity. Presumably a bank BB&T's size could double in size.

King said things might pick up more in a year or so once regulators are more clear about what they're looking for.

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