Break time is just about over for serial acquirer Prosperity Bancshares.
The $21.7 billion-asset company, which has bought eight banks since 2012, took a self-imposed hiatus to make sure it was comfortable with its integrations and to ensure it didn't fall into the trap of doing too many deals. Its last acquisition was the purchase of the $2.4 billion-asset F&M Bank & Trust in April 2014.
But that ended when the Houston lender started looking for a new deal three or four months ago, Chief Executive and Chairman David Zalman revealed during a call Friday with analysts to discuss second-quarter results.
When asked by an analyst during the call if there was anything, like a divide over pricing or regulatory concerns, preventing Prosperity from announcing something, Zalman's reply was simply: "Stay tuned."
The only thing delaying an announcement is the time required to put a deal together, which under the best circumstances takes a minimum of three months, he said.
"You are talking about romancing and kissing and all of that stuff and that takes a while," he said. "Then you start your due diligence and that takes a while. Then you have to talk about the loans. After the loans everybody talks about the contracts that they want."
Prosperity is looking to increase its assets by 10% a year through M&A, Zalman said. Its preference is to find a deal in Oklahoma and Texas where it is already located. But it currently operates roughly 10 miles from the Louisiana border about the same distance it was from Oklahoma before it entered that state in 2013 with the purchase of Coppermark Bank so it would also consider the Pelican State, Zalman said.
Rather than being a deterrent, the downturn in the energy sector could present some opportunities for Prosperity, management said. The company reviews a seller's loan portfolio internally, rather than outsourcing that work, and looks at almost every loan. This has produced a strong track record of accurately rating credits, so management is confident it could review energy loans even as the oil industry remains a source of concern.
"I know a lot of times when we go into a bank and on our final days when we meet with management and go over the loans, I wouldn't say it's a hostile environment but there is a lot of controversy going on," Zalman said. "Most of the time it's nonbelieving."
Additional acquisitions could help boost Prosperity's loan portfolio at a time when management is unsatisfied with the pace of organic growth. In the first quarter, executives had predicted 8% organic loan growth but the bank fell short of that. Excluding the acquisition of F&M, loans grew by roughly 3%.
"I am not going to make excuses," Zalman said. "We are not happy where we are with the loan growth."
Prosperity reported that it earned $71.9 million, down almost 5% from a year earlier. Its earnings per share totaled $1.03, compared with $1.08 a year earlier.
Net interest income declined 9%, to $158.2 million, year over year. The net interest margin fell 44 basis points, to 3.39%, because of loan discount accretion and lower yields on average interest-earning assets.
Nonperforming loans surged 37%, to $32.1 million, year over year. Roughly half of the company's nonperforming loans have come from its acquisition of F&M, Zalman said during the conference call. Roughly $13 million of the nonperforming loans were in oil and gas.
Noninterest income totaled $30.3 million, down 7% from a year earlier, because of a decrease in net gain on sale of assets and nonsufficient fund fees.