Top executives at Bank Mutual (BKMU) in Milwaukee told investors Monday that the company is eyeing acquisitions of banks and other financial services firms in its quest to become a “much larger company” in the next few years.
Speaking at the company’s annual meeting, President Dave Baumgarten said that the $2.6 billion-asset Bank Mutual would be interested in buying banks that could help it fill in gaps in its branch network that is primarily concentrated in eastern and western Wisconsin. Bank Mutual’s last bank acquisition was in 2003, when it bought First Northern Savings Bank in Green Bay, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Baumgarten added that Bank Mutual would also consider nonbank acquisitions that could add to its menu of products and services, the Milwaukee Business Journal reported on its website Monday.
At least one investor suggested that the company should consider selling itself at a price of $10, which would be huge premium over its current trading price of about $3.75. But Bank Mutual Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Crowley said buyers are unwilling to pay such prices these days and believes that, long-term, Bank Mutual is better of remaining independent.
“It would be a mistake to have a fire sale,” Crowley said, according to the Business Journal. “I think this company is too valuable for that.”