BB&T in Winston-Salem, N.C., could abstain from bank acquisitions this year as it integrates recent purchases and contends with depressed stock prices across the banking industry.
The $210 billion-asset company, which bought Susquehanna Bancshares in Lititz, Pa., last fall, is close to completing its acquisition of National Penn Bancshares in Boyertown, Pa. Meanwhile, BB&T's stock has fallen 25% since hitting its 52-week high in late July.
"While long term, we're still bullish with regard to M&A, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't do anything the rest of this year," Kelly King, BB&T's chairman and chief executive, said during a presentation Tuesday at a conference hosted by Credit Suisse.
"We've got enough to do right now," King said, acknowledging that BB&T has its "plate full" in terms of integrating deals. "The other [reason] is I don't particularly like using our currency at these low prices."
BB&T isn't the only bank suffering from depressed stock prices. The KBW Nasdaq Bank Index has lost 26% since its 52-week peak on July 22.
"Our currency is doing well compared to the industry, but our industry has been overly beaten down," King said.
Instead, BB&T is thinking of buying back its own stock. "I think buybacks are getting more likely, because I don't really want to use our currency for M&A in this environment," King said.
BB&T, which likes to increase its assets by 5% to 10% annually, will remain opportunistic and would consider a great deal if it comes along.
"If we were to have a really attractive M&A opportunity that met all of our criteria – and we got really excited about – that would take precedence over a buyback," King said.