After making five acquisitions in less than three years, People's United Financial Inc. in Bridgeport, Conn., is now turning its attention to slashing overhead and growing its balance sheet more organically.

Though the $28 billion-asset company has not sworn off future deals, Chief Executive Officer Jack Barnes said in a presentation to investors and analysts in New York Monday that a top priority would be reducing People's United's efficiency ratio from nearly 66% at June 30 to 55% within two years.

The company is aiming to reduce its overhead by roughly $23 million a year, and Barnes said at the Barclays Capital Global Financial Services Conference that it would do so in part by bringing all the banks it recently acquired under a single operating platform. The company is also expecting to achieve significant cost savings by revamping its retirement program and reducing its overall head count.

People's United has roughly doubled its assets through acquisitions since it converted from a mutual holding company to a 100% stock-owned company in 2007. Since the start of 2009, it has acquired four banking companies in New England and New York, as well as an equipment-financing company in New York.

Though it would still consider fill-in deals at the right price, Barnes said that that the company is more interested in adding branches and cross-selling existing customers. Specifically, he said he sees a "tremendous opportunity" to grow income by cross-selling fee-based services such as brokerage and payroll management to existing customers.

"We have many [fee-based] products, but because of our growth...into new markets we have not had years of mining that existing customer base to sell them new products," he said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.