Bank M&A's Hot Start to 2014

Mergers and acquisitions have gained steam in early 2014. Here is a rundown of the whole-bank deals, shedding of noncore businesses and swapping of securities so far this year.

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Carolina Domino Effect? Carolina Domino Effect?

VantageSouth in Raleigh, N.C., and Yadkin Financial in Elkin, N.C., announced plans in late January for a $300 million merger. VantageSouth CEO Scott Custer will lead the bank. The MOE is expected to force other North Carolina banks to decide whether to become buyers or sellers.

Bloomberg News

Cost-Cutting Focus Cost-Cutting Focus

ConnectOne in Englewood, N.J., is merging with Center Bancorp in Union, N.J., in another MOE-like deal that would create a $3 billion-asset bank and is meant to produce $7 million in annual cost savings. Frank Sorrentino of ConnectOne will become the CEO.

Going for Seconds Going for Seconds

Washington Federal agreed in January to buy more branches from Bank of America, this time snagging 23 in Arizona and Nevada. Washington Federal disclosed this month that it saw a $500 million drop-off in deposits at 51 branches it had previously purchased from B of A.

Bloomberg News

Wells Aims for Repositioning Wells Aims for Repositioning

Wells Fargo agreed last month to sell more than 40% of its insurance brokerage offices to USI Insurance Services so that it can focus on bigger clients and high-growth markets. Meanwhile, New York regulators this month blocked Wells’ plan to sell mortgage-servicing rights to Ocwen Financial.

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Eyes on Texas Eyes on Texas

BancorpSouth in Tupelo, Miss., and Iberiabank in Lafayette, La., have announced notable acquisitions in Texas in recent weeks. The spotlight will be on BancorpSouth CEO Dan Rollins, a former executive at Prosperity Bancshares in Houston, and how he fares in the Lone Star State.

Bound for the Auction Block Bound for the Auction Block

A group of private-equity firms has agreed to place the first bid in bankruptcy court for 1st Mariner Bank in Baltimore. Bankruptcy sales are slowly catching on as a way for sellers who are saddled with deferred payments on trust-preferred securities to unload their bank units.

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Bulking Up Bulking Up

TriCo Bancshares in Chico, Calif., is buying North Valley Bancorp to create a $3.5 billion-asset company in California. TriCo CEO Rick Smith aims to take on the country’s biggest banks in the combined company's rural markets.

Stung by Volcker Stung by Volcker

A number of community banks, including Webster Financial, Cortland Bancorp and Defiance Financial, reported quarterly losses tied to certain securities that were not exempted from the Volcker Rule. A silver lining: Webster managed to sell its securities for a decent gain.

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Mergers and acquisitions have gained steam in early 2014. Here is a rundown of the whole-bank deals, shedding of noncore businesses and swapping of securities so far this year.

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